In collaboration with a film screening tonight, Sept. 4, in Hailey (“I Am Maris” at the Community Campus, 6 p.m.) that brings awareness to mental-health challenges and resources, a Community Resiliency Model training will be offered later this month that aims to create a community that can better manage chronic stress or traumatic experiences and support community members who may be experiencing significant stress or trauma.

According to Blaine County School District mental-health therapist Laurie Strand, the body’s central nervous system naturally responds to stress and trauma in its own way. For some people, that response may be depression and isolation; for others, it may be violent outbursts and anxious behaviors. Everyone has a “resiliency zone,” an area in which the body can handle a certain amount of stress and not respond negatively. By using skills taught through the resiliency model, that zone can be increased, allowing a person to manage stress or trauma in a healthier manner through knowledge and understanding of how their central nervous system reacts to stress and trauma and what they can do to manage those natural reactions.

The model teaches six skills, one of which is “tracking,” paying attention to sensations in the body and noticing how the body may be reacting to something. Strand gave the example of someone who is complaining of back pain. Rather than allowing the person to continue to focus on the one area of their body that hurts, encourage them to focus on a part of their body that is healthy and functioning well, such as their hands. By focusing on “what else is true in that moment,” Strand said, the pain might feel less severe because the brain is not solely focusing on it anymore.

The Community Resiliency Model was brought to the Wood River Valley four years ago, Strand said, and she has been teaching it for the past two years. In her 12 years working in the therapy world, she said, this model gives immediate results.

“I see changes so quickly and so profoundly,” she said.

So far, the model has been taught to several nonprofit organizations throughout the valley, as well as teachers, staff and administrators with the School District. Strand said her “audacious goal” is to have all of Ketchum trained using the Community Resiliency Model, in the hope that all community members will be better able to care for themselves, and therefore be more capable of being supportive to someone else who may be experiencing chronic stress or has recently gone through a traumatic event and may be falling outside of their resiliency zone.

The two-day training session is open to anyone in the public, and costs $135, which includes dinner on both nights. The trainings will take place Monday, Sept. 23, and Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Community Campus in Hailey from 4:30-8 p.m. Those interested in attending can email Strand at laurieIstrand@gmail.com to reserve seats. Strand will teach the sessions alongside another trainer, Lydia Missal, a licensed clinical social worker with the mental-health clinic at St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center.

For more information on the Community Resiliency Model, visit traumaresourceinstitute.com.

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