Today, more than ever, direct service providers are under enormous pressure. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to burnout among many health care workers, while the ongoing crises facing social workers, humanitarian aid workers, and others continue unabated.
At the Garrison Institute, we know that people who join these helping professions do so because you care deeply about the fate of people in need. Our Contemplative-Based Resilience Project (CBR) is here for you. We offer health care providers, social workers, humanitarian aid workers, legal aid workers, first responders, and others in the helping professions some tried and tested tools to help build resilience so that you may “be well to serve well.”
Founded in 2004, the CBR Project has offered trainings to direct service providers around the world. Through meditation, gentle movement exercises, compassion practices, and psychosocial education on the impact of stress, participants learn how to find within themselves the “ABCs of Resilience”: Awareness, Balance, and Connection. We know from countless testimonies how these practices have changed lives.
“The CBR Women’s Leadership Retreat was the most transformative weekend I have ever had. I felt access to something within myself that would be able to sustain me.” – Madeline Garcia Bigelow, Urban Justice Center
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the CBR Project quickly added a digital format to our trainings.
We created a new free app, Care for Caregivers, which offers eight short guided meditation and mindful movement practices featuring CBR’s co-founder Sharon Salzberg and Gayla Marie Stiles.
We launched the first of a series of virtual trainings called Contemplative Resilience Tools for Social Change Makers, thanks to our sponsors, including The Hemera Foundation, Someone Else’s Child’s Foundation, and other generous supporters. It has attracted more than 250 participants from 14 organizations, including the DC Government Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, Sanctuary for Families, the Worker Justice Center, the Child Advocacy Center of Putnam County, and the Fortune Society. The course offers the ABCs of Resilience as well as lessons drawn from Sharon Salzberg’s recent book Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World.
“The essence of the CBR Project is finding and fostering the power of resilience, which can come from within as well as from the power of community.” – Sharon Salzberg
The CBR Project works one-on-one with organizations to tailor programs to the needs of staff. In 2019 we led a series of trainings for the staff of New York City’s Services for the Underserved and in 2021 received a grant from the Westchester Community Foundation to offer CBR programming and additional coaching sessions through 2022 to staff of several non-profits based in Westchester County.
We also run trainings attended by individuals identified by a range of agencies that we work with directly. In 2019, our in-person Women’s Leadership Retreat attracted participants from more than 20 organizations, including Safe Horizon, Sakhi for South Asian Women, the Legal Aid Society, Urban Justice Center, and the Women and Justice Project. In May 2021, we launched a virtual course, Contemplative Resilience Tools for Social Change Makers.
Awareness of the psychology of stress and its causes;
Balance through mind and body practices;
Connection with ourselves, with the people we work with and care for, and our communities
The techniques offered in CBR trainings are grounded in research on human resilience. For a more in-depth exploration of the research, review Teresa Sivilli and Thaddeus Pace’s paper “The Human Dimensions of Resilience.”
Read an op-ed in Newsweek from Sharon Salzberg and Garrison Institute’s Diana Calthorpe Rose on how the Care for Caregivers app can help essential workers reduce stress and balance mental and emotional wellbeing.
“Amazing retreat. I came thinking one way about taking care of myself and my team, and I left with a beautiful tool kit that is helping implement new ideas in my office and making sure I take care of myself and my team.”
“Before I attended four days of CBR Training, I did not believe in the meditation world and its result on people. But now meditation and mindful exercises are my daily habits to reduce the stress and tension.”
“I found the CBR program to be deeply nourishing and impactful, and it continues to inform my practice and how I see us doing transformative change work in ways that support healing, growth, and wellbeing More than ever during these times this work feels absolutely essential, and I have deep gratitude for all that Garrison Institute offers.”
The CBR Project brings together faculty with expertise in the fields of traumatic stress studies, psychology, meditation and mindful movement
To learn more about the CBR Project or to inquire about programming, please contact us at CBRProject@garrisoninstitute.org.