Project HOPE-NY Helps the City Heal

September 1, 2002 @ 4:00 am

A psychoeducational group model developed by CUSSW faculty member Ellen Lukens focuses on prevention and healing after mass trauma, emphasizing group exchanges of practical coping information.

Lukens’ project, “Healthy Outreach through Psychoeducation,” is supported by the Liberty Fund of the State of New York.

“The events of September 11, 2001 prompted an urgent need to educate the general public about the immediate and long-term psychological impact of trauma,” said Lukens. “We also wanted to develop and implement effective models for intervention and prevention.”

Working in collaboration with Ms. Helle Thorning and Dr. Peggy O’Neill, of the Center for Family Education and Research (CFER), New York State Psychiatric Institute, Lukens developed a strengths-based model that helps participants build coping skills, learn from the shared experiences of group members, and move towards equilibrium in their everyday lives.

“The model can stand alone or be combined with other forms of individual or family intervention,” says Lukens. “It is flexible enough to fit the learning needs of persons with diverse backgrounds, at different life stages, and with different levels of exposure to trauma, and can be expanded in length or intensity as needed.

“The graduated curriculum follows a trauma and recovery model that addresses safety, affect regulation, loss, and empowerment/hope,” she added.

The project is being conducted in diverse communities across New York City.