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The Effectiveness of Trauma-Focused Psychodrama in the Treatment of PTSD in Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment

By Scott Giacomucci & Joshua Marquit

Just writing to share of my new trauma-focused psychodrama research study, “The Effectiveness of Trauma-Focused Psychodrama in the Treatment of PTSD in Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment” in the Frontiers in PsychologyJournal.
This study comes from my work at Mirmont Treatment Center (Philadelphia area) demonstrating hopeful outcomes for the treatment of PTSD with trauma-focused psychodrama – the Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM) & Relational Trauma Repair Model (RTR).

Results demonstrated over 25% decrease in PTSD symptoms for participants in Mirmont’s “Phoenix/Trauma Group” which is based on trauma-focused psychodrama. Considering the average patient only attended the group 4-5 times (2x per week), these results are quite meaningful and 2.5x the level of change in a residential trauma-focused CBT program with similar qualities.

Available here (full article available open access soon): https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00896/abstract
Abstract
This single group pretest-posttest study explores the effectiveness of trauma-focused psychodrama in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at an inpatient addiction treatment center. The results contribute to the limited research bases of both psychodrama and PTSD treatment outcomes in inpatient addiction treatment. The present study supports the potential effectiveness of two trauma-focused psychodrama models, the Therapeutic Spiral Model and the Relational Trauma Repair Model. Findings of the research demonstrate clinically significant reductions in overall PTSD symptoms (over 25% change) and each PTSD symptom cluster (i.e., re-experiencing and intrusion, avoidance and numbing, and hyper-arousal). Additionally, patient satisfaction exit survey data support overall treatment effectiveness and highlight its tolerability, and capacity for establishing emotional safety, connection, and group cohesion. Patients even described the trauma-focused psychodrama treatment approach as enjoyable and helpful. Overall, the results of this study are promising, and support continued clinical application of trauma-focused psychodrama treatment with other subpopulations diagnosed with PTSD. However, the ability to isolate effects of trauma-focused psychodrama in this study is compromised due to the absence of a control group and participants’ involvement in other inpatient treatment services.
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You Can’t Say That

By Anath Garber, PhD, TEP

Anath Garber is a friend and colleague whose expertise in psychotherapy and particularly the technique of psychodrama is very intriguing to me because I believe live theater can be religion and therapy and therapy as drama and healing may be the best invention since the wheel …

Listen to Part 1 Here

Listen to Part 2 Here

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Working with projective identification in the Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM)

Working with projective identification in the Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM)

by Ina Hogenboom

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Containment in Zagreb- Event Cancelled

I have had to cancel my workshop on Containment in Zagreb due to Trumps travel ban. I am deeply disappointed as I love this group and organizers Vedran Korusic, Ines Cokarić and team members Axel Eichel and Ina Hogenboom. We will move the workshop to our June dates.

Meanwhile, we will announce next week several Zoom efforts to connect people during this time of crisis. I will be offering a 4 week group on darling with the acute effects of the virus n how to contain the fear triggering off other traumas via TSM Psychodrama. Look for our eblast!

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India 2020

By Karen Drucker

Sitting by the pool after a swim looking out on the waters of the Arabian Sea surrounded by palm trees and listening to the sound of tropical birds. I am treating myself to two weeks of Ayurvedic treatment at a place in Kerala recommended by Jochen Becker called Isola di Cocco. Feels like a well deserved rest and commitment to my health after nine intensive days of therapeutic spiral workshops.

We had a four day workshop in Bangalore, making friends with defenses, then a travel day to Delhi to begin a four day on transforming the trauma triangle. Arriving the first morning of the Bangalore group was like greeting old friends. Most of the participants had been with us last year and it was wonderful to see familiar faces!

                                   Bangalore Workshop Participants

                                  New Delhi Workshop Participants

Steven Durost and I had a smooth and beautiful co-leadership dance.

It’s such a privilege to work with someone I love, respect, and feel so met and supported by in all aspects of the work. From planning to timing, switching between team leader and assistant leader in directing the dramas, working with participants and the team, we were like butter.

Sadhana, a team member in Delhi writes, “It’s heartening to see how you have teamed up with Steven to make TSM such a beautiful experience for us. I love to see the way you two adore each other, shift effortlessly into various roles with so much fluidity and understanding and make a remarkable role models of professional partners with touch of Being incorporated into it. Could the universe give us any better gift than having the opportunity to see and experience Dr Steven and Dr Karen! I guess not.. This is the best gift!”

They loved the teaching I designed on working with the trauma triangle with an individual, splitting into groups of three to practice.

We were invited to Rashmi Datt’s house for dinner one night. She is a PAT and is the trainer in the Delhi group. It was very special to go to her house, which took almost an hour in crazy Delhi traffic, but we laughed a lot and enjoyed ourselves.

I’m including a poem written by one of our protagonists the night after her drama. She entitled her drama “Priyanka Owning Her Power.” One of her hopes for the drama was feeling worthy of accepting an award that she would be receiving a few days later. The picture tells the story!!

Lost & Found
by Priyanka Dutta

I was born resourceful,
I was born beautiful!
But somewhere in this life’s journey,
I lost a part of me…

I kept looking for it here & there,
But was left with frustration & despair;
As trust walked away from me,
I lost my ‘confidence key’.

Unlocking my potential became difficult,
And I started believing it was my fault;
I relied on others to feel good,
And to my ‘SELF’ I became rude…

But in my quest, I found a loving community,
Who embraced me & set me free;
I can’t thank you enough,
For reconnecting me to my other half…

Today I again feel resourceful,
Today yet again I feel powerful;
Trust came back to me,
I found my ‘confidence key’.

I feel very inspired, nurtured and enriched by this time in India and the privilege of working with such terrific people. Gratitude to Dr. Jochen Becker for his initial invitation and for inviting us back for the next two years!!

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ACTS- Introduction to Psychodrama for Trauma Survivors

We Have a special invitation to the TSI Family:

TSI is happy (excited, delighted – you name it) to announce a collaborative effort with ACTS (Alexander and Ciotola Training Services) to share the latest information about the efficacy of action methods (specifically TSM Psychodrama) in working with survivors of trauma and in promoting Post Traumatic Growth.

Nancy Alexander and Linda Ciotola are recipients of this year’s (2019) ASGPP Collaborators’ Award for the work they have done blending psychotherapy and psychodrama for trauma survivors.

The product of their collaboration is available in an on-line course: Introduction to Psychodrama for Trauma Survivors which includes 11 training modules (complete with video presentation, downloadable handouts, and more – see below for details of modules) and a video of a full-length psychodrama directed by Linda.

For a brief, video introduction to this program please visit:
http://ac-ts.com/psychodrama-introduction/

 

ACTS offers a tiered pricing structure, based on your status as a professional: trainer, trainee, student, etc.; and region of the world in which you live.

You can order the course directly from the links we are providing below.

For standard pricing based on professional status please visit:
https://training.ac-ts.com/a/aff_gt5q9qsw/external?affcode=137013_hj_ifodj

For those living in countries identified by the IAGP for reduced fee (or to find out which tier you are on), please visit here:
https://training.ac-ts.com/a/aff_s5l9f7m9/external?affcode=137013_hj_ifodj

 

6 CEU’s are available for your participation in this on-line course through CE-Classes.com.

For information and ideas about:

  • how to establish a study group facilitated by a TEP to be able to obtain distance-learning credit from the American Board of Examiners (and perhaps by other psychodrama certification boards),
  • using the on-line course to waive a requirement for TSM Level I certification, or
  • setting up a study group with an interpreter for groups for whom English is not a preferred language

please contact Mario at cossa@att.net

We are excited to be working with ACTS in this manner and by the opportunities this on-line course will provide around the globe.

 

Below are the description of the modules contained in the course:

MODULE ONE: AN OVERVIEW OF PSYCHODRAMA

Includes a brief history of Psychodrama’s founder J.L. Moreno, MD and his early work, an overview of the method’s applications and the overarching principles contributing to its effectiveness.

MODULE TWO: WHAT IS TRAUMA?

Creating a working definition of trauma, the various ways it is re-experienced for the individual, its effect of “rhythmic rupture,” and various contributing causes and their overwhelming prevalence.

MODULE THREE: WHAT ARE THE TRAUMA DISORDERS?

An overview of the trauma disorders occurring across a broad diagnostic spectrum, including: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Depersonalization Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

MODULE 4: HOW TRAUMA AFFECTS THE BRAIN

How trauma reorients and effects the brain, neurological changes as a result, including the impairment of communication between the brain’s hemispheres, and functional implications of overwhelming trauma

MODULE FIVE: FUNDAMENTALS OF TRAUMA-BASED PSYCHOTHERAPY

Highlighting the imperative of the therapeutic relationship for healing, the essential nature of safety and consistency, and the role of expressive therapies, including their ability to connect the internal verbal condition with the non-verbal.

MODULE SIX: TRAUMA-FOCUSED PSYCHODRAMA

Reviewing the ability of Psychodrama to bring objectivity and accurate labeling while re-writing trauma-based material, moving the brain beyond what is “stuck,” and creativity as the key to change.

MODULE SEVEN: THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF PSYCHODRAMA

Introducing a myriad of Psychodramatic and related action, art, movement and music methods and adaptations, including the Therapeutic Spiral Model.

MODULE EIGHT: HOW PSYCHODRAMA DIFFERS FROM OTHER METHODOLOGIES

Delineating the inherent differences between Psychodrama and other forms of therapeutic interventions, in particular how it is separate in nature from Psychotherapy and theater.

MODULE NINE: THE IMPORTANCE OF TRAUMA-BASED INDIVIDUAL THERAPY

Underlining the symbiotic nature of the therapeutic relationship and the healing process, establishing it as the core of reconstructive work and experiential validation.

MODULE TEN: THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF A PSYCHODRAMA

An overview of the essential elements, roles, rules and guidelines, and prevailing structures and methods of a Psychodrama according to the Therapeutic Spiral Model.

MODULE ELEVEN: CLOSURE AND WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE

Summary statements on the importance of safeguards using theater methods, expected outcome factors, testimonials from patients, and where to find out more about Psychodrama.

 

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The Trauma Therapeutic Spiral Model on the The Trauma Therapeutic Spiral Model

Check out my new interview “The Trauma Therapeutic Spiral Model” with Guy Macpherson on the Trauma Therapist Podcast. Watch Here!

 

TSI International Training Groups in Experiential Trauma Therapy Certification Course

We are happy to announce the formation of two TSI International Training Groups in Experiential Trauma Therapy using the Therapeutic Spiral Model to treat trauma. Please join us as we start our new cohorts in Zagreb, Croatia in December, 2019, and in Philadelphia, PA, USA in February, 2020. You can become part of our TSM international community of like-minded people seeking to change how trauma work is done around the world.

The Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM) is a 3-stage, process model of Experiential Trauma Therapy using clinically modified psychodrama interventions and additional action strategies from Gestalt therapy, Focusing, etc. TSM Psychodrama has research support showing that its use of spontaneity, creativity, and role theory to guide safe and effective psychodrama results in clinically significant changes in anxiety, depression and symptoms of PTSD. In these groups, we will continue our research on increases in spontaneity and post-traumatic growth.

Each cohort will provide the opportunity to meet the requirements of the Introduction to Theory Certification in Experiential Trauma Therapy
by summer 2020. Learn the neurobiology of trauma and why the latest research in neurobiology and attachment prescribed Experiential Therapy as the treatment of choice for trauma-related difficulties. Experience the safety of containment as you share your personal traumas as part of your training in TSM. Finally enjoy transforming your trauma triangle to one of personal recovery, empowerment, and connection to others.

In Zagreb, the group is conducted in English and we invite people of any nationality to join this group. It is already half subscribed so please sign up early. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/2I8o8iz

Philadelphia brings a rich opportunity to interact with senior TSM clinicians and trainers in our on-going cohort of 4 years. This diverse group of practitioners seek to bring TSM to their own private and professional settings. Learn more by contacting Dr. Kate at drkatetsi@ icloud.com

Get More Information on Our FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/488289831993590/

 

Dr Kate will be joined by an international training Action Healing Team throughout the year.

Zagreb, Croatia:

Philadelphia, PA

 

Each workshop can be taken as a stand alone training or you can come to all and receive an International Certification in Experiential Trauma Therapy Theory in TSM Psychodrama

 

Event Flyer

TSM Certification Standards Revisions

I am delighted to announce that Kate and I have finally completed the revisions to the TSM Certification Standards and Procedures. Most of the changes are more structural than actual added requirements, however there are a few additions. Now that the Directorship of TSI is being shared, part of my role as Director of Training will be to make sure the standards and procedures are uniformly implemented, and that all the cracks through which things sometimes fell in the past are sealed up.
Here is a basic overview of the revisions:
  •  In order to meet he needs of diverse students, we now offer three different levels of International Certification in Experiential Trauma Therapy using the Therapeutic Spiral Model.
  • Level I – Introduction to Theory (for those only interested in learning the basic principles of TSM.)
  • Level II – Advanced Theory and Practice (for those interested in advanced coursework and being certified in the TSM Action Trauma Team roles of Trained Auxiliary Ego (TAE), Assistant Leader (AL), and Team Leader.) Note: Students may begin the practice requirements for Level II while completing Level I course work.
  • Certification as a TSM Trainer
  • Requirements for maintaining certification have been added. Please see the Overview section linked below.
  • Each student is required to have an Individualized Training Plan outlining their proposed involvement for the coming year (September 2019 through August 2020).
  • Training Plans will be reviewed on a yearly basis and updated and/or revised as needed.
  • A Dropbox file for each trainee is being established to maintain accurate records of all Training plans, requirements completed, and submitted reaction papers. Note: Reaction papers have long been a requirement. It just has not been enforced. It will be now.
Certification standards are NOT retroactive, so whatever is already completed is finished. Those in process at a certain level will be transitioned to the new standards as simply and as fairly as possible. Those individuals currently in training will be receiving an e-mail with further details.
For quick access to the appropriate website pages, please click on the links below:
Please address questions to cossa@att.net
From my autonomous healing center to yours,
Mario Cossa – Director of Training
Therapeutic Spiral International

Andrea C Hummel: “Differences are conversations waiting to happen; Talk to the “other side,” because it’s harder to hate up-close”

TSM psychodrama is used in many varied contexts and situations. This article is about a TSM-psychodrama theory certified practitioner and her applications in communities.

Photo: taken during a TSM psychodrama training in Madrid.

 

Differences are conversations waiting to happen. Talk to the “other side,” because it’s harder to hate up-close, as Michelle Obama says. Here’s two challenges I’d love to see newscasters, YouTubers, Facebookers, teachers and leaders take, and then post on social media for the rest of us to imitate:

– Every day, listen to a complete stranger for five whole minutes. In the check-out line, at the bus stop, at a game, wherever. Keep an open mind; repeat what they said as if you believed it — even if just for those five minutes. That’s called “mirroring” or “doubling” someone.

– Sort for similarities, not differences. In any conversation, challenge yourself to silently list at least 5 beliefs or attributes you have in common. If you train your brain to sort for commonalities, you’ll notice more of them.

I had the pleasure to interview Andrea C Hummel. Andrea is trained in multicultural diversity, mediation and trauma recovery. She holds a Masters in applied anthropology with additional studies in intercultural conflict mediation. She’s also trained in multi-track diplomacy and Shadow Work® and holds a theory certification in TSM psychodrama for post-traumatic growth. Her study of ten languages helps her connect with audiences when presenting at conferences both in the US and abroad. No stranger to staying focused during crisis, Andrea was in the Middle East during the 1990 Kuwaiti oil crisis, Guatemala during the 1995 refugee persecutions, and Greece during the 2015 refugee crisis. In 1991 Andrea founded a consulting firm specializing in cultural diversity. She was also an adjunct faculty member at University of Florida and Manatee Community College. Initially her focus was on preventing conflict (via cultural understanding); now it’s on resolving conflict (via facilitated improvisations). She’s the developer of the cutting-edge peacedramas for helping individuals and communities increase empathy, decrease miscommunication and create alternate endings to historical conflict. She’s worked with the Micosukee Tribe of Indians, Recover!Charlottesville, US Navy STRICOM, AmeriCorps, Equifax, and state and local government agencies. Co-author of an Amazon #1 bestseller on women overcoming hardship, Andrea is currently writing a self-help book on post-traumatic growth with trauma expert Kate Hudgins.

Thank you so much for joining us Andrea! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Growing up bicultural, I wondered why I felt “different” and didn’t fit in anywhere. Studying anthropology helped me understand there are many shades and colors of values, behaviors and ways of viewing the world — even though underneath it we’re all humans. I spent years teaching cultural diversity workshops, and then learned about experiential work. I started leading group simulations so people could experience what it felt like to be an “outsider.” Then in the late 1990s a friend persuaded me to attend a Shadow Work® weekend out in Colorado, where we healed personal shadows through acting them out. It was eye-opening: the whole idea that we have parts of ourselves that we hide away and then proceed to get tripped up by. That’s why I pursued training in psychodrama, which is acting out your stories for personal growth.

Another influence was hearing family stories about growing up in Europe during World War II. My parents experienced living in daily fear and with little food in a country whose people were turning against each other. My grandfather in particular stood up for his beliefs against the prevailing government in a socio-political climate similar to what we see in the US and the world today: scapegoating, bigotry and rejection of anyone “different.” He paid for his activism with his life, as did countless others…So I feel a need to continue what he started all those years ago.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you, since you began leading your company?

This is a great example of the fear and divisiveness in our country at the moment. Like most of us, I was watching the 2016 election closely, on the edge of my seat about who’d be our next president and what that would mean for the social fabric of our country. When the results came in the next morning, and so many people felt devastated, the mood in Washington DC (where I live) was somber. Everywhere I went that day, people looked in shock. I had a jumble of disjointed feelings inside too; I just had to do something. So I got several bouquets of flowers. I stood on a street corner with a sign reading “I’m committing a random act of kindness,” and handed out a flower to every person walking by. It was amazing — and interesting — to see the looks on people’s faces at getting a rose: mostly relief, smiles, and a few people even crying. That simple gesture of me, a complete stranger, connecting with them was what broke through their shock and sadness. Several passers-by stopped to share stories (“I interviewed Hillary just last night, so this is hitting me hard,” or “I voted for Trump, but I’m taking this flower home to my mom who’s a Democrat.”) It showed me how hungry Americans are for connecting, talking, reaching out, being understood — they just don’t know how. And now, in the current social climate, they’re afraid to. It makes me even more passionate about doing the work I do.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was starting out years ago, I didn’t know how to do an effective sales pitch. I remember talking to the police chief of a small Southern college, who was looking for sensitivity training for his officers. I laid out all the benefits, named other organizations I’d trained, and rattled off demographics and statistics. The chief nodded and asked a lot of questions, so I thought I’d sealed the deal. We shook hands, I got up to go and walked toward the door. Then I suddenly realized I hadn’t told him my fee. With my hand on the doorknob, I turned around and named a figure, then left quickly. Oh boy! Big mistake! He had no chance to ask questions or negotiate…Needless to say, I didn’t get the contract.

What I learned from that is: Know your own worth and own it. Be confident that what you have to offer the world is worth what you’re asking. That applies to both work as well as personal gifts of our time, caring, listening, etc. that we offer to those around us daily.

Can you describe how your organization is making a significant social impact?

Every conversation, every workshop, makes a difference in healing social wounds. We can’t solve society’s problems in one day. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it would be rather monochrome if it were… But what we can do is create pockets of change throughout our towns. The people in those pockets will influence others, be more open with strangers, even organize events to get to know “the others.” They can have the optimism to elect leaders who are likewise positive and working to bridge differences. One of my favorite quotes is by fellow anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

I’ve also seen how even one of our projects two years ago in Charlottesville impacted not only the community who participated there; it also led to a second project with a group of therapists, who in turn helped their many clients, whose families and workplaces were hopefully also impacted by the empowering healing techniques we taught them. And it then led to further projects with nearby municipalities and their employees. So the social impact is a ripple effect of helping individuals in communities heal after violence and miscommunication, who pay it forward by trusting others more.

Wow! Can you tell me a story about a particular individual who was impacted by this cause?

When we started our work in Charlottesville, most people the team talked to were traumatized by the events of the 2017 white supremacist march. They were tense, emotional, fearful of leaving their homes, and hesitant to return downtown (where the violence occurred). One man in particular (with whom I later became friends) had a hard time finding meaning in his work, ended a significant relationship immediately afterwards, and stopped talking to strangers. After participating in our six months of community workshops, he said he’d had the catharsis he needed, felt more connected into the community, and was motivated to start additional community events to keep the conversations going. It opened his mind to seeing others through their eyes (instead of his own), and being more open to them even if he didn’t accept certain of their viewpoints. Those are the success stories I like to hear!

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Social change begins at the community level — but leaders create the structure and role-modeling to motivate the rest of us. Several things leaders can do are:

  1. Model “reaching across the aisle” and listening to those different from themselves. Model placing the well-being of the community/country ahead of that of the individual (such as getting re-elected to office).
  2. Demonstrate acceptance of strangers; don’t be a xenophobe. Reflect this in policies they sponsor. Look for solutions that aren’t black-and-white, such as expelling all foreigners and building a wall. Instead, support capacity-building in other countries, reducing the need for citizens to immigrate to the US.
  3. Organize local “meet-and-greets” with various ethnic, religious and political groups within communities. Remember that differences are just conversations waiting to happen. Sponsor quarterly community reconciliation forums to work through the hurt, fear and anger. In other words: create opportunities for acting out the change we want to see in the world, to paraphrase Gandhi.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean?

It’s not about self-aggrandizement but the glory of the TEAM. A good leader inspires his/her team, listens to their personal concerns (really connects with them), and sees them as people and not just producers/automatons. True leaders are passionate about the organization’s mission and motivate others to follow. They are part cheerleader, counselor, coach and goal-setter. They are willing to be a voice for people who can’t or won’t speak up for themselves. (That last criteria is courtesy of my daughter, who’s thankfully good at speaking up.)

What are your “five things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why?

  1. You’ve got to plant a lot of seeds before you see results. Be patient; it takes time to start a social movement. Several people I met decades ago are now coming back asking for workshops. Part of it is the greater need for social repair these days; the rest is people being more connected through social media.
  2. It’s hard work. You’ve got to keep up your belief in what you’re doing. If you get burned out, take a break from the sad traumatic parts: pitch a tent in your living room or foster puppies. — Yes, I’ve done both.
  3. You need a team. Big things can’t be accomplished alone. Despite what my mother said, the best helping hand is at the end of your arm…AND many other willing people’s arms! I wish I had the space here to name all the caring, interesting and even irritating people who’ve helped me along the way…especially when I was flying blind.
  4. You’ll spend a lot of time educating decision-makers — to explain the need for your services. I’ve noticed that a live demonstration of peacedramas at conferences really helps leaders make the decision. And videos show a lot that can’t be explained with statistics or words.
  5. There are multiple ways to get the job done. If you can’t “save the world,” then become a secretary (or other support) for someone who can. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a translator for the UN. Then I admired people like Jimmy Carter, Rosa Parks, Michelle Obama — anyone who made a difference without thinking of themselves. And now I believe I can impact society just by listening to people different from me, and inspiring others to do the same.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Differences are conversations waiting to happen. Talk to the “other side,” because it’s harder to hate up-close, as Michelle Obama says. Here’s two challenges I’d love to see newscasters, YouTubers, Facebookers, teachers and leaders take, and then post on social media for the rest of us to imitate:

Every day, listen to a complete stranger for five whole minutes. In the check-out line, at the bus stop, at a game, wherever. Keep an open mind; repeat what they said as if you believed it — even if just for those five minutes. That’s called “mirroring” or “doubling” someone.

Sort for similarities, not differences. In any conversation, challenge yourself to silently list at least 5 beliefs or attributes you have in common. If you train your brain to sort for commonalities, you’ll notice more of them.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how it was relevant to you in your life?

Fred Rogers said: “When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

In other words, you see what you look for. That goes hand-in-hand with my mantra that a positive attitude produces positive change. I read Mr Rogers’ quote only a few years ago, at a time when I was overwhelmed by the negativity, violence and organized hatred in the world. I was close to throwing in the proverbial towel and finding a less stressful career. But since then, I’ve chosen to focus on the helpers in the world, those who cut through the chaos to simply be present, listen and do their best for that one person next to them. That’s all we can ever do. I really believe that’s what makes the difference in today’s world.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them.

I actually have three favorite people:

Andrea Mitchell “reached across the aisle” in her own home: she’s a Democratic journalist married to a Republican former chairman of the Federal Reserve. If she can do it (while in the public spotlight, no less), so can the rest of us. Her reporting has always been intelligent and insightful…And she shares my first name.

Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter have continued their activism, consulting and community support even after they left the White House. Mr Carter was the first president I followed as a young teen, and he gave me hope that presidents can inspire positive change. Both he and Mrs Carter have made perhaps more of an impact on the national and world stage in the past decades than in their four years in Washington.

Michelle Obama personified the quote “When they go low, we go high.” She didn’t contribute to the rising negativity and divisiveness in our society. Also, she was gracious in her role as ground-breaking African-American First Lady and is inspirational as a highly-educated and accomplished woman who was able to balance career and family.

How can our readers follow you on social media?
www.improvforpeace.com
https://www.facebook.com/improvforpeace/
https://twitter.com/andreachc3
https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreahummel/
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

Article originally posted on Medium.com