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The Critical Nature of “Closing”


Guest post by Genevieve Chandler,RN, PhD, Associate Professor, UMass Amherst

“I learned how quick I go into ‘catastrophizing’ mode in my thinking. I do that all the time. But now I can change, stop, take a breath and consider my options,” David, one of our athletes’, commented in the closing of our class. This is an example of an Affirmation, one of the choices of the 3 A’s, as we affectionately refer to our course closing practice.

This one credit course on building psychological resilience is a freshman seminar that is offered through the College of Nursing to all freshman and specifically required for entering athletes, football players, men’s and women’s basketball. In the ritual closing of our class each individual is invited to offer either an Affirmation of what they learned or an Appreciation of what a peer or faculty contributed or an Appraisal of what they wished happened in class but we did not get to. I invite students, staff or patients to participate in this dynamic closing practice that is derived from the Peace & Power process (Chinn, 2001).

Whether leading a class, a clinical meeting or a patient group, the last 5-10 minutes of the meeting are facilitated by each member of the group responding to the 3As. Hearing what other group members affirm, appreciate or appraise is rewarding for everyone present. The resulting individual recognition and productive feedback builds group cohesion. In David’s comment he described learning about catastrophizing from the brief lecture I gave on cognitive awareness, a component of the Changing Minds, Changing Lives (CMCL) resilience intervention. As an educator, it is always helpful to learn what stays with students!

The framework for the Changing Minds, Changing Lives (CMCL) resilience intervention is based on ABCS model for building resilience. Active coping, Building strength, Cognitive awareness and Social support are the four constructs that serve as a framework for the Changing Minds, Changing Lives (CMCL) intervention. The CMCL consists of an academic course and mentoring opportunities. The strength-based intervention is designed to bring mental health and well-being from the auspices of the clinic to the learning environment of the classroom. Each class consists of a mindfulness/yoga training, an educational presentation on a topic related to resilience such as the neurobiology of stress or leadership, followed by an expressive writing exercise and closing with an Affirmation, and Appreciation or an Appraisal. “I appreciate hearing Carl’s story of his first day on campus, it helps to understand where people are coming from.”

Comparison of the CMCL intervention pre and post data indicate an increase in emotional awareness, belonging and resilience during the transition to college, all essential attributes to college success (Chandler, Roberts & Chiodo, 2015). Recently funded by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, sophomores now mentor freshman and freshman mentor high school students within the CMCL course. In a course where students learn their individual strengths and hear stories of their teammates experiences, our participants thrive, resulting in an increase in self efficacy and team bonding.

I highly recommend reserving the last 10 minutes of every group for the 3As where each component of the closing, an Affirmation of learning, an Appreciation of another group member’s contribution or an Appraisal of what was needed, is so helpful to the participants and the facilitator. The 3As practice offers everyone the opportunity to speak their voice, whether a class of 80, where you can pop around the room, or a seminar of 12, where each individual can share their perspective. “I have an appraisal,” Michael began, “I wish we could have heard everyone’s strengths and not just those in our small group,” Good to know. Next time I’ll make time for each small group to report out. I can’t leave a meeting without a closing. Invite your group members to have the last word, their voices are so inspiring and everyone feels included.

Chandler, G., Robert, S., & Chiodo, L. (2015). Resilience intervention for young adults with adverse childhood experiences. Journal of American Psychiatric Nursing Association, 21(6), 406-416.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1078390315620609

The Vastness of Peace and Power!


Thank you to Alex for commenting on the last post pointing to the new “Classroom” section on this blog!  Alex says it precisely – “It sort of feels too complicated and very vast for me.”  This is exactly the challenge of Peace and Power.  It seems so simple, but in fact it is very vast and very complicated.  I attribute this paradox in part to the fact that all of us know, at a deep level, the meaning of being in the world where “Peace and Power” prevails – we actually have all experienced times when this is our experience, and it truly feels so wonderful.  The times may be rare, but they tend to occur in our relationships with people we love deeply and who are close to us in our daily lives – the relationships that give us comfort and that make us feel good.  But when we begin to think that the ways of being in those relatively private spaces might also be brought into the public realm, where there are very different “norms” of behavior – it just feels too good to be true!

But I know, from experience, that keeping the ideals alive, and striving to live by them in all interactions – this makes a huge difference.  To be sure, it is not always possible, and the ideal still is all too rare.  But even the slightest shift in my own intentions, in being always aware of my own “peace and power” words and actions – this does shift almost every interaction and situation in some significant way.  It is a way of living and of being.

For those interested in Peace and Power in the classroom, you might want to check out the “Nurse Educator Praxis” blog – we post ideas about using peace and power in the classroom on that blog.  Even if you aren’t connected to a classroom – the illustrations of the making possible the vastness of peace and power in everyday life might be helpful!

New “Peace & Power” Classrooms and Committees Section


The book “Peace & Power” has always included a chapter addressing ways to integrate this process in traditional groups like classrooms and institutional committees, and now this challenging process has a focus on the website – a “Classrooms and Committees” page!  The new page includes basic explanations included in the book, but in addition, offers some ideas for implementing three values that are particularly important in classrooms:

  • Empowerment for all
  • Demystification of content and processes (especially processes for grades), and
  • Creating Community

Visit the new page now!  Then return here to add your ideas and comments, suggestions, and questions!

IEN Class of 2015
IEN Class of 2015, York University – at end of semester using “Peace and Power”

Condensed Handbook of Peace and Power now available!


I am delighted to announce that the 2018 Condensed version of “Peace and Power” is available for download!  You can download the complete PDF (75 pages) or individual chapters that relate to a specific part of the process.  Link for downloading are available from the right sidebar of all Peace and Power” pages of the website!

Many of the pages of the website have been updated – and your comments, stories, questions and ideas are always welcome on this blog!  So I invite you to take a little while to browse what is here.  I know that many groups – formal and informal, volunteer and worksite groups – are turning to ideas like “Peace and Power,” seeking ways to overcome the cultures of hostility and violence that prevail in may public spaces.  Share your ideas here, and we will integrate them into our discussions!

 

Peace and Power as a Relational Leadership Handbook


Writtten by Adeline Falk-Rafael, PhD, FAAN, Professor, York University

For the past 4 years, I have taught a 4th year leadership course to Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs), who are in our RN-BScN program at York University in Toronto, Canada. The course is designed to support students to meet professional standards of leadership in whatever position they practice and to provide them with beginning knowledge and skills required for nursing leadership, particularly at the bedside, but applicable in positions of

Adeline Falk-Rafael
Adeline Falk-Rafael

leadership as well. The course reading materials include 2 “textbooks” – one that focuses on leadership (not management) and Peace and Power. My use of Peace and Power began simply as a process to use in the classroom, as I had in other courses for years. In reading it simultaneously with leadership literature, however, I began to see the strong relationship of its tenets with relational leadership approaches and the usefulness of its processes in helping students develop various leadership/followership skills.

Contemporary leadership theories, which stress the relationship of leaders with their followers, have their roots in the paradigmatic shift towards transformational leadership initiated by Burns in 1976. In this transformational context, Continue reading “Peace and Power as a Relational Leadership Handbook”

“Peace and Power” theory published in Journal of Nursing Scholarship!


Just published!  

Peace and Power: A Theory of Emancipatory Group Process

by Peggy L. Chinn RN, PhD, FAAN and Adeline Falk-Rafael RN, PhD, FAAN

In this article, Adeline and I explain the theoretical framework that has evolved from our experiences with Peace and Power. Here is the citation!  

Chinn, P. L. and Falk-Rafael, A. (2014), Peace and Power: A Theory of Emancipatory Group Process. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. doi: 10.1111/jnu.12101