Grief and Loss

In this session, we share thoughts about grief and loss with our colleague Allison Gibbs, LCSW of therapyconciergellc.com. Typically our ‘After Hours’ conversations are somewhat lighthearted, but not so much with this one. It was pre-pandemic though coronavirus was ‘in the air’ so to speak and perhaps on our minds. 

Creative Adjustments

The session in which we talk about how we’re all doing our best to shelter-in-place and make it work. Many of us are struggling and through the struggle we’re finding creative ways to make it through. Sometimes, hearing an idea that resonates in some way can help in our own struggle to get through this tough time. 

On Education and Race

The session in which we chat with LaChan and Michael Hannon about race, education, and parent-teacher involvement.

LaChan V. Hannon is a culturally responsive teacher leader and educator. She is a PhD student researching culturally responsive school practices with particular attention to parent engagement. LaChan has published articles and chapters in academic texts including: International Handbook of Self-Study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices and Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Dr. Michael Hannon is an Assistant Professor of Counseling at Montclair State University. His work has been featured in various media outlets and organizations including Autism Speaks, Thrive Global, Fusion, Huffington Post, and WURD 900AM. His forthcoming book, Black Fathering and Mental Health: Black Fathers Discuss the Needs of Men and Fathers Across the Family Life Cycle, will be published by Peter Lang in September 2020.

Together, LaChan and Michael developed the nonprofit organization, Greater Expectations Teaching and Advocacy Center for Childhood Disabilities, Inc. GETAC is dedicated to providing support resources to families and children living with developmental disabilities and the professionals who serve them. 

www.getac.org

UPDATE from Dr. Michael Hannon: “The pandemic has required our family to remember how important it is to be flexible, while attending to the norms that keep us balanced. Some of us like isolation at times; some of us need more frequent interaction. Thankfully, we have shared language (verbal and nonverbal) that provides cues and instructions about what we need. For example, school means something different for each of the children. One really enjoys the social interaction, the other appreciates the opportunity for distance learning. I realize, though, that school gives the kids space and permission to be, do, and say things differently than they might in my company. For me, that translates into allowing them some uninterrupted time to connect with friends virtually while trying not to be overbearing. Yesterday, I found out that my son was participating in a social media “push up” challenge.  It caught me by surprise at first. After talking with LaChan, she reminded me – “He NEEDS those interactions!”
 
It’s also been important for us to show each other patience, gratitude, and to expect some bumps along the way. We are realizing what works one day or week may not work the next day or week (or even hour!). Leaving room and granting permission to equally share laughs and frustrations, I think, will continue to be really important. At the end of the day, I’m grateful we have each other. We are healthy and we are together, which is plenty for which to be thankful.”
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Facing Change

The session in which we (Cindy and Julie) move to remote podcast recording as we adapt to current obstacles and needs. We discussed the many ways we’ve been adjusting to changes we now face day to day. As we moved to shelter-in-place, we experienced many different emotions and numerous situational challenges.  We’ve also been working with people from many walks of life, all of us learning to adjust to new ways of being that none of us have chosen. 

Self-Care

In this Shrinks After Hours session, we chat with Allison Gibbs, LCSW of Therapy Concierge, LLC and Holly Sawyer, PhD, of Life First Therapy, LLC about the importance of taking time for self-care. It was pre-recorded before we were all sheltering-in-place so not all of it may apply to today though much of it can still be helpful. We’ll be doing an update to talk about what self care looks like during a pandemic, but in the meantime, this session might offer some insights. 

We explored our personal definitions of self-care, what keeps people from taking care of themselves, and what happens when they don’t. Listen in when you can – Maybe you’ll get some good ideas for your own self-care. We hope you do. 

Black Mothering for White Spaces

The session in which we chat with LaChan V Hannon about mothering her two children and helping them learn to navigate white spaces, such as school and the classroom.

LaChan is the School of Education Certification Officer at The College of New Jersey and Executive Director of Greater Expectations Teaching and Advocacy Center.  She is a PhD candidate in teacher education and teacher development at Montclair State University. Her scholarly work focuses on the intersectionality of race, disability and parent involvement.  Her TEDx Talk entitled Young, Gifted & Black with Autism was released in 2016.

PostScript: We held our podcast interview with LaChan before the coronavirus took hold here this Spring. Recently, we asked her for an update regarding some of her thoughts at this time. She told us this: 

“Just as there is nothing predictable about what is happening right now in society, there is nothing predictable about Black mothering during a quarantine. My daughter loves online instruction and my son, with Autism, misses his friends and being at school. We are all creating a NEW normal both for schooling as well as daily life co-habitating. Daily check-ins are absolutely necessary to get a pulse on what we are all all experiencing. Now more than ever, it is important for us to hold fast to our family beliefs which are (1) we are in community with one another and have an obligation to each other, (2) we honor our word and do what we said we would do, and (3) we all make mistakes and can ask for forgiveness” 

Intergenerational Justice

The session in which we had a spontaneous chat with Joyce E. Russell, RN, the mother of Assata Thomas, Director of the Institute for Community Justice. Assata’s mom accompanied her to our planned podcast session and sat in the waiting room while we talked to Assata about the social activism and justice work she is passionate about (you can hear the convo on our Prison Services and Reentry podcast). Afterward, we thought it would be nice to have Mom in the interview to talk for a few minutes about her daughter. Once we turned on the mic, we found out that Joyce has her own stories of social justice work having spent years as a nurse in a prison. She spoke about how the work changed her, and her ever-growing deep pride in her family which now has yet another generation of social justice warriors coming up.

Prison Services and Reentry

The session in which we chat with Assata Thomas, Director of the Institute for Community Justice, about the work she does to promote the Institute’s mission of supporting people and communities impacted by mass incarceration. Assata is a strong advocate in the fight for “a world free from mass incarceration where communities have equitable access to health, safety, justice, and the opportunity to design their freedom.”

Life without Parole

The session in which we met with Emily Abendroth and Layne Mullett, two collaborators in the LifeLines Project. Other collaborators on this long-term media project include 8 people serving sentences of Life without Parole, or in other words, the ‘other’ death penalty: Death by Incarceration.

Emily and Layne make it clear that they are not the most important voices in the project; if you want to hear what the other collaborators have to say, start at lifelines-project.org.

For a general understanding of the impact and immorality of Life without Parole and the LifeLines Project, this podcast session is a great start.