Free virtual workshops help providers and parents find resilience in uncertain times
Em Capito wants to help providers and families in Summit County deal with the uncertainties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
To do that, the licensed clinical social worker is partnering with Communities That Care and Connect Summit County, two local mental health nonprofits, to present two free virtual workshops that focus on resilience.
The first, Raising Resilience in our Communities, which is for educators, counselors, coaches and any other adult working with local youths, will run from 10-11:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 15.
The other, Resilient Families: Live training and Tool Kit, will start at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Registration for both workshops can be done by visiting ctcsummitcounty.org/programs-events.
“The goal with these workshops is to give providers and parents a framework and some tools so they can triage resilience on a daily basis, whether it’s with a 4-year-old who has a meltdown or with a colleague or ourselves,” Capito said. “These tools will help us recognize what will make us become more reactive, rather than responsive. When we’re not at our best, there are immediate steps we can take to build up our reserves again.”
While the workshops do have some overlap in concepts, Capito said they will also address participants’ specific issues.
During the providers’ training, Capito will cover topics such as compassion fatigue, as well as the emotional withdrawal and mental exhaustion caused by constantly serving others, she said.
“We will discuss the importance of their need to prioritize their own resilience and that of their own families first,” she said. “It’s like putting the airplane oxygen mask on yourself first before you help others, because you can’t help others if you’re tapped out.”
Capito will suggest ways for these providers to refill their emotional buckets in the classroom, during after-school programs and in counseling centers, she said.
“Educators and counselors face their own challenges, and being a provider can be a difficult burden to carry on a day-to-day basis,” she said. “Teachers, principals and coaches have faced so much uncertainty with the pandemic, but they still have to show up to help families and kids who are struggling while trying to take care of themselves and their own families.”
During the second workshop, Capito will focus on the family unit.
“I will bring up tools of how parents can triage concerns at home, and focus on the kids who are struggling to go back to school, or struggling with virtual classes, depending on how those things are playing out at that time,” she said. “We will also talk about six science-based factors for resilience to give a tangible framework so you can quickly triage the problems when a child has a meltdown. This will help us not devolve into the parents who snap at their kids.”
Both workshops will center on the definition of resilience, according to Capito.
“A lot of people think about it as bouncing back, but I like to think of it as transforming,” she said. “The challenges we go through give us opportunities to transform ourselves and there is no going back to who we were before. I mean, none of us, especially providers, are going to be the same after coronavirus. Resilience is the space between what happens to us and how we respond, and it’s about recognizing the concept that we have to build up the space for ourselves, students and families, rather than barreling through and putting out one fire after another.”
Communities That Care discovered Capito through Nelson Clayton, who oversees the school-based counseling services at the University of Utah, said Communities That Care Executive Director Mary Christa Smith.
“The U. is our behavior-health provider for our in-school counseling, and Nelson knew Em and thought she had something very important to offer our community,” Smith said.
Smith felt what Capito offers is needed in Summit County more than ever.
“Our mission is to create a culture of health and well-being for youth and families through collaborations around prevention,” she said. “There is a lot of uncertainty right now, so we need to do everything we can to help our kids flow with those changes in a way that helps boost their own capacity to deal with change and boost their mental health without creating anxiety.”
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“One of the underlined themes of these works is my hope that if people see all Black faces in ski gear, conceptually, it will trigger some thoughts so they will feel different the next time they get on the mountain and see a person of color skiing or snowboarding.”