CorStone offers a multi-disciplinary and integrative approach to developing and supporting personal resilience in marginalized and under-served adults and youth. We provide tools and techniques delivered through a combination of didactic trainings, a proven facilitative peer support model, and an emphasis on sustainable results.
Our goal is to nurture and empower individuals’ capacity to thrive emotionally, physically, and economically; to make conscious, positive choices; and to deal with adversity of any kind in a resilient and peaceful manner.
Positive PsychologyFounded by renowned psychologist and author, Martin Seligman, PhD., Positive Psychology is an academic discipline that studies optimal human functioning. While ‘traditional’ psychology has typically focused on pathology and the alleviation of suffering, Positive Psychology aims to scientifically study human ‘character’ strengths, cognitions, positive feelings, and behaviors that help an individual or community to thrive and build a life ‘worth living’. Rather than fixing what’s ‘wrong’ with us, Positive Psychology seeks to strengthen what is ‘right’ in us by focusing on mental and emotional wellness and cultivating strengths such as optimism, hopefulness, empathy, persistence, and forgiveness. Positive Psychology is well-suited to the development of character and leadership skills, social-emotional learning, as well as the building of healthy teams and institutions. Positive Psychology has also proven effective as a preventative approach to clinical depression and other mental illnesses in youth. The scientific framework of Positive Psychology forms the basis for CorStone’s programs, services and trainings. Our unique integrative approach to personal resilience and character development is practical and succeeds through a collaborative effort that focuses on ‘what is’, while simultaneously accessing the virtues, strengths and resources available to achieve a preferred future. In this way, resilience is drawn upon, goals are identified, individual, family and community assets are brought forth, and positive choices are made and reinforced.
“Moving from problem solving to solution building has changed the way I look at challenges and the options I have for resolving them. Focusing on solutions empowers me to develop realistic strategies, determine small measurable steps, and tap my own wisdom toward reaching a goal.” | CorStone FacilitatorThe Character Strengths and Virtues (CSV) handbook of human strengths and virtues, by the VIA Institute on Character (VIA), attempts to identify the positive psychological traits of human beings, and provides a theoretical framework for developing practical applications for Positive Psychology. The CSV identifies six classes of core virtues and 24 character strengths, which research has found to be universally valued by the vast majority of cultures throughout history, and which lead to increased happiness when practiced. These core virtues are as follows:
- Wisdom and Knowledge | strengths that involve the acquisition and use of knowledge
- Courage | strengths that allow the accomplishment of goals in the face of opposition
- Humanity | interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others
- Justice | strengths that build healthy community
- Temperance | strengths that protect against excess
- Transcendence | strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning
Attitudinal HealingIs it possible to choose to let go of fear and conflict? Is it possible to heal painful thoughts and attitudes about the past and to bring peace to ourselves and others?? Is it possible to forgive those who we think have hurt us, and to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and for the shame we may feel about the past? While challenge, conflict and crisis may be inevitable in life, at CorStone we believe that what matters most are the attitudes, beliefs and values we adopt; the decision-making and communication skills we utilize; and the ability and willingness to make healthful, positive choices when such challenges arise. Resilient people have a specific set of attitudes concerning themselves and their role within the world that enables them to deal with life challenges more efficiently and effectively than their non-resilient peers. Our goal is to support people with the tools, techniques and skills they need to help themselves deal with adversity of any kind in a resilient and peaceful manner.
“Your attitude is everything and determines how you experience every aspect of your life. You cannot always control what happens to you in the world, but you do determine how you react to it many times a day by your attitude.” | Jerry Jampolsky M.D + Diane Cirincione, Ph.D.Attitudinal Healing offers a way to enable us to consciously choose to let go of fearful attitudes and embrace a loving and forgiving path. The goal is not simply to change behavior, but to re-train the most powerful instrument of change we possess, our own mind. Thus, Attitudinal Healing occurs when we realize that our own thoughts, feelings and attitudes about people and events are what cause us conflict and distress. Developed by psychiatrist and author, Jerry Jampolsky, M.D., over 30 years ago, Attitudinal Healing has been successfully applied by individuals, communities and organizations in over 50 countries, ranging from cancer patients in Russia and Ukraine, to inner city orphans in Mexico City, to life-threatened individuals in the US, and war refugees in Croatia and Bosnia. Dr. Jampolsky outlined a core framework or set of Attitudinal Healing principles to help people to let go of fear, discard negative and hurtful thoughts from the past, and remove inner obstacles to peace. These include the following:
- The essence of being is love.
- Health is inner peace.
- Giving and receiving are the same.
- Now is the only time there is.
- We learn to love ourselves and others by forgiving rather than judging.
- We can become love-finders rather than faultfinders.
- We can be peaceful inside regardless of what is happening outside.
- We are students and teachers to each other.
- We can focus on the whole of our lives rather than on the fragments.
- We can always see ourselves and others as extending love or giving a call for help.
Restorative PracticesPersonal Resilience is defined as the ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises – to function competently, powerfully and peacefully when dealing with conflict or adversity. Resilience is not a trait that one either possesses or does not; it is a skill that can be learned, and there are varying degrees to which people are able to withstand stress and conflict. People with high levels of personal resilience tend to possess certain abilities. These include:
- Perspective | The ability to learn from mistakes (rather than deny them), see obstacles as challenges, allow adversity to make one stronger, and find meaning in life’s challenges rather than becoming a victim to events.
- Responsibility | The ability to be responsible and thoughtful rather than impulsive.
- Support | The ability to know the value of social support and surround oneself with supportive friends and family in difficult times.
“It was a peaceful way to confront the issue and not distort or ignore it.” | ParentThe fundamental unifying hypothesis of restorative practices is simple: that human beings are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their behavior when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them. This hypothesis maintains that the punitive and authoritarian to mode and the permissive and paternalistic for mode are not as effective as the restorative, participatory, engaging with mode (Wachtel and McCold, 2004). In schools, restorative practice circles and groups provide opportunities for students to share their feelings, build relationships and problem-solve, and when there is wrongdoing, to play an active role in addressing the wrong and making things right (Riestenberg, 2002). The restorative practice framework is a process for forming effective relationships and a way of restoring them when they break down. Restorative practices are gaining widespread prevalence in schools to support the social and emotional learning needs of students, resulting in positive classroom communities in which disruption is minimized and quality instructional time is maximized. Numerous quantitative and qualitative studies have shown that using restorative practices in schools dramatically decreases the number of detentions, suspensions, disciplinary referrals, incidents of aggression and disruptive behavior. Schools routinely report a 30-60% drop in violent acts, serious incidents and disciplinary infractions after using restorative practices for one year (IIRP, 2009).