Foundation for Learning & Inspiring Health & Healing - MA
I began in mental health care over three decades ago working with vulnerable clients and a desire to help them realize health and healing (traumatized children, women, LGBTQ+ folks, clients with eating disorders and a variety of mental health conditions). I started creating a model recognizing that traditional cognitive or behavioral approaches could not fully address my clients’ needs. I tried to institute the ideas of the model in traditional therapy sessions but found still limited success as clients would relate to the ideas but not follow through once leaving the office. Often people would go into higher levels of care, change behavior in intensive settings, but upon return would resume same or other behaviors. I found that many treatment providers were missing a piece of the equation. I began creating a place where experiential learning and teaching of wellness strategies for psychological insulation could occur. I designed the Foundation for Learning & Inspiring Health & Healing (FLIHH), Butterflihh Farm, a tiny therapeutic farm with rescue animals, and a model to bring together all the pieces (mind, body, spirit, and environment) while embracing evidence-based treatment practices. The COPER Model teaches skills to support health and healing. The elements of the model, Connection, Optimism, Play, Empowerment and Resilience, are interconnected, practical, holistic, and supported by work published by numerous professionals (ie. person-centered, positive psychology, relational theory, CBT, DBT, integrative medicine, mind-body scholars, and environment health scholars) while going beyond each to encompass mind-body-spirit-environment health and healing. This is particularly effective for treating eating disorders which are a unique treatment situation requiring all the elements of this model and a place to experientially learn.
FLIHH has grown exponentially over the past 6 years. Yearly I add to my vision and growth goals. FLIHH offers groups, family and individual treatment and wellness learning as a circular and connected process. Working with this team, clients begin to improve significantly. Our goal is to make health care look different: ie. Equity-priced care for all ages and all genders, virtual modules for everything we offer eliminating location as a barrier. In 2023, we added a holistic wellness studio on the west coast. The final goal begins this year: building Butterflihh EcoSanctuary. It’s the culmination of all my dreams, advancing the practice and programs by offering an immersive learning experience with the FLIHH holistic team in an environment that provides a circular system of eco-conscious, zero-waste living, healthy, locally sourced nutrition, counseling services, TheraFarm experiences, meditation, sound healing, reiki, life coaching and yoga. It will be a destination where people of all ages and genders through mind, body, spirit and environment learn strategies to promote wellness or recover from illness in a manner that is in sync with nature, our planet, what impacts our bodies, and what fosters growth and contentment. Butterflihh EcoSanctuary creates the coming together of effective therapies, experiential learning, connection, joy, resilience, and positive focus in a system that has never been done before. This is why I am applying for the Barclay prize!
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