Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Welcome St. Leonards Ministries

For those of you who attended my workshop on Friday 2/10 at St. Leonard's Ministries, welcome and thanks for visiting this blog. Also, thanks for making it a lively and valuable discussion on Friday.

Here is a link to the Safety and Sobriety manual I mentioned in the workshop. It's a big document (185 pages) so you might want to save it to your computer rather than printing it out. To do this "right-click" on the link and select "Save Target As" or "Save Link As".

This document, produced by Illinois Dept. of Human Services has excellent information on best practices in domestic violence and substance abuse treatment. You will find the "Power and Control" wheel that I talked about near the end in a section called "Tool Kit".

If you have any thoughts or questions from Friday's workshop, please feel free to leave a comment by clicking on "comments" below. In the meantime, I'll try to put some of my own thoughts together and post something related to the workshop in the next few days.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Link of the Week

I've added a new link to the sidebar. Wellbriety is an online magazine focusing on addiction recovery issues in the Native American communities. It's put out by White Bison, Inc., an organization out of Colorado Springs with the goal of "bringing 100 Indian communities into healing by the year 2010."

The magazine has articles you can read online or download as pdf. files. There's even a few articles by Illinois' own native son, Bill White. The organization also puts on conferences and has resources for linking recovery with arts and music.

I know here in Chicago we have a significant American Indian population and, unfortunately, this is one population that seems to get overlooked in too many discussions of multicultural counseling.

The sidebar link takes you right to the magazine. If you'd like to go to the organizations general website go to

Monday, February 06, 2006

Formula to Avoid an Escalation

Here's a quick little formula that may help some of our clients avoid an escalation or, worse, a violent incident:


When we make a statement or have a thought like, "My wife should have approached me in a better tone of voice," we are practicing what some call counterfactual thinking. In other words, we are comparing reality to some ideal we have in our heads that runs counter to the facts. Frustration increases relative to the difference between what the other person did and what we feel they SHOULD have done.

If we replace the SHOULD with a COULD, we get something more like, "My wife COULD have spoken in a different tone, but she didn't. And that's OK." The word COULD acknowledges that there were other options but it doesn't place the same expectation or demand on the other person to live up to your ideal. This is about gaining flexibility and being able to accept when things don't go your way.

Obviously this sort of play on words is not fool proof, some abusers will take a tool like this, only to apply it to their partner rather than themselves. Nevertheless, I have seen 'lightbulb' moments for some of the men I've worked with as they've begun to see how black/white their thinking was through this little tool.