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Lifelong Learning with MassPRA

MassPRA-ConferenceThe Massachusetts Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (MassPRA) held its 13th Annual Conference with the theme of “Supporting the Recovery Workforce: Toward Lifelong Learning” on October 15 and 16.

MassPRA is a collective of service providers, persons in recovery, family members, policymakers, researchers and teachers dedicated to promoting recovery of people with psychiatric conditions through high quality psychiatric rehabilitation services.

MassPRA celebrates partnership. One of the unique things about this conference is that it is for both psychiatric rehabilitation practitioners and service users, and the intentional blurring of that line in the significant growth of peers in the workforce.

Vinfen staff and persons served made significant contributions to the quality of this conference through our mission of Transforming Lives Together. As Vinfen’s Director of Rehabilitation Services and President of the MassPRA Chapter of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, I had the opportunity to welcome attendees to the conference.

MassPRA’s first day focused on competency enhancement through in-depth, full-day institutes:

  • Kim Meuser and Maria Restrepo focused learners’ attention on cognitive restructuring practices for people with serious mental health conditions who’ve also experienced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • Pat Nemec and Amy Spagnolo introduced participants to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) “8 Dimensions of Wellness” in order to prepare them to build health and wellness interventions into members’ service plans.
  • Anne Sullivan-Soydan prepped participants for the upcoming Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner Exam
  • Kelley Gamble and Mike Seibold described strategies for effective employee development, supervision and support within the context of Massachusetts’ psychiatric rehabilitation services network.

The second day of the conference offered 31 90-minute workshops; spanning the breadth of practice issues in psychiatric rehabilitation – from best practices in practitioner training and tips for effective clinical documentation to healing the provider/survivor divide. It included how to workshops focused on building a cognitive remediation toolbox and helping people to gain community membership to experiential introductions to Mindfulness practice and Reiki.

On this day of workshops, Vinfen shared it’s expertise through presentations by me, Supported Employment Director Karen Moore, Northeast Rehabilitation Specialist Catherine Eccles, Cambridge/Somerville Rehabilitation Specialist Joe Spinale, and two clients served by Vinfen.

The two days served as an experience of perspective taking on the positive developments that continue to emerge in our workforce and from the commonwealth’s public mental health system.