We’re looking forward to WISR’s 3rd Annual Conference!


Welcome!  This blog is devoted to information, posts and comments about WISR’s upcoming 3rd annual conference, Thursday evening, August 25 through Saturday evening, August 27.  We’re really looking forward to this year’s conference.  We expect about 50 participants–students, faculty, Board, alumni, prospective students and friends of WISR.  We anticipate that there will be 15 to 25 participants in most sessions, and we already have indications from members of the WISR community that people will be traveling here from such places as Boston, New Orleans, Detroit, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Vancouver, Nigeria and China.

Please take a look at our conference program and schedule, and feel free to make comments or posts on this blog about ideas for the conference prior to August 25.   Then. during and after the conference, please use this blog to share your insights, questions, thoughts and planned activities that result from the conference.

Profile photo of John Bilorusky

About John Bilorusky

John Bilorusky is President of WISR and Member of WISR's core faculty. John was one of WISR's four founders in 1975, and WISR has been, and will continue to be, the hub of his professional and community involvements. John received his BA from the University of Colorado (cum laude in Physics and cum laude in General Studies) in 1967. He received his MA from the University of California at Berkeley in 1968 and his PhD in Higher Education from UC Berkeley in 1972. He has also held major faculty appointments in the College of Community Services at the University of Cincinnati (1971-73), in the Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Studies at UC Berkeley (1970-71) and at University Without Walls-Berkeley (1973-74). He has actively written and published in the field of adult learning and social change. He lives with his wife, Janet, and 18-year-old twins, Kyle and Nicole. Janet is a nurse at the Regional Center of the East Bay, serving and supporting people with developmental disabilities. Kyle and Nicole are currently enrolled at Berkeley City College. He has an adult son, Clark, who has a Master's in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State, and who lives with his wife, Donna, and their two children, Ilaw and Tala, in Vallejo, CA. Clark provides Tech Support in the Union City School District.
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2 Responses to We’re looking forward to WISR’s 3rd Annual Conference!

  1. Sunny says:

    Hi, I’m Sunny, a prospective student for the doctoral program. I have worked in the field of chemical dependency for several years now and am therefore interested in the content of your project. In addition, I am interested in starting a nonprofit to help people collaborative development models that contribute to individual and collective growth and well-being. Here are some of my observations and questions about your topic.
    Nasira – I’m intrigued by your goal of lowering both recitivism and relapse rates for chemical dependency. I’d love to learn more about what interventions you believe will be more effective in helping to establish longer-term recovery. Your developments will be of interest to SA counselors, sober coaches, sober companions, etc. As the current relapse rates for chemical dependency are in the same range as chronic health issues that likewise require significant behavioral change, any success you have could also be of interest in the behavioral health community. I would encourage you to track your results and see if you can get them published. Also Sherry Kimball was talking about using in-home models of support, and I wonder if those would be a useful approach as well. Thanks for sharing your project, and I look forward to hearing about your developments. – Sunny

    • Profile photo of nasira nasira says:

      Hi Sunny – Happily, I finally found your blog – first John tried, unsucessfully, then Marilyn, who found it through the strangest of routes. She has since placed it in a more logical place.

      Thank you so much for your inquiry; it may serve us both more as an incentive for me to figure out the answers to your questions than as that to which I already know answers – and, that said, “answers”, at least when it comes to human services, are forever fluid.

      Overview of where I am in the field and with my project:

      I have worked as a trainee psychotherapist for the last 8 years, 3 with the general public and 5 in recovery services. While I wish my experience working in rehab had taught me to “master” therapeutic interventions particular for the (successful) treatment of chemical dependency, I cannot; it has been general therapeutic services (and training for me), with a “recovery” leaning. At that (therapy), I have learned a great deal and feel a considerable amount of confidence, with the caviat that I am always learning, questioning my choices, and honing my skills – just because and because each individual is a new, unique individual and a new, unique relationship.

      The content of my project: Mostly unrealized. However, I have “realized” what I want to talk about:
      1. Self knowledge – the 1st requirement for dispensing effective therapeutic services is the therapist’s self awareness.
      2. Rehabilitating rehab:
      a. Uprooting the destructive methodologies of Synanon, the original “therapeutic community” whose legacy permeates the rehab scene, but which produces mostly two things which are not “real” recovery: thinking that gets in the way of any lasting, permanent healing, and a form of “recovery” which is nothing short a greater infestation of disease is the guise of sobriety, i.e., an more incideous form of the attitudinal problems normally characterized as unreasonable and angry “dry drunk” behavior(s).

      b. Re-make rehab to produce a more effective “cure”:
      – unveil the “strength-based” perspective of their choices
      – unveil the paradoxical/defeatest nature of violence = teach non-violent communication
      – emotional awareness
      – teach about a forethought-ful life
      – make self awareness and self-motivation requirements for forward movement – rather than the shaming and hierarchy/obedience of Synanon.

      I too am interested in starting a nonprofit – I already named it BOL – Bridge of Life

      Interventions:
      – I absolutely believe in a wrap-around model with one-stop shopping for threapy, job training , social skills training, remedial/literacy education, etc. – and I love william’s idea of a communal living environment. However, as a therapist, and for my thesis, I am limiting myself to focusing on therapies: self psychology, CBT, narrative, and CMT resonate most with me – but they are very sophisticated and need to be boiled down for application with this population. And, like I mentioned at the conference, I am working on my own theory, which has similarities with the above mentioned ones, but is more concise in terms of IDing how all behavior is insubmission to beliefs and that when those beliefs change, the behavior automatically changes to reflect the beliefs – with habit-changing/behavior strategies to aid in change.

      -the use of stories (objective educational info) and relevant self disclosure (to make me, a middle-aged white woman someone they have any reason to listen to) you believe will be more effective in helping to establish longer-term recovery.

      – the most important hurble I face, besides the intractability of addiction, is getting addicts to believe in therapy so that they can benefit from it – I propose to do this by not being a teacher or an advisor – but by completely putting the ball in their court and making it their work and their process – but even getting them to listen to get to that point is a challenge.

      I totally accept your encouragement to track my results.

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