Skip to main content

Facilitator Feature: Alison Novelli

By News

Alison Novelli (they/them) is an intimacy coordinator, intimacy director, facilitator and consultant. They are passionate about decreasing stress and co-creating alchemically resilient artistic spaces. Alison practices cultural humility and takes an intersectional approach to all of their work. 

As an intimacy coordinator and intimacy director, Alison is dedicated to composing dynamic stories of intimacy for stage and screen. They are committed to realizing a show’s creative vision with an emphasis on authenticity, dignity, and empowerment. 

Alison draws on their extensive theater background and professional education to facilitate and consult with curiosity, compassion, and play. Alison specializes in consent, decreasing stress, growing embodied self-awareness, and increasing capacity for ease and challenge. Alison works with individuals, companies, and organizations to build sustainable and adaptive strategies, policies, and practices that are responsive to an ever-changing arts landscape.

Alison is a graduate of Cohort 10, and works on the unceded, ancestral land of the Lenape people, now known as Brooklyn, NY. We spoke with Alison this month about their work and the incredible ways they are integrating The Resilience Toolkit.

Describe your experience of facilitating The Resilience Toolkit in 1-2 words.

Empowering creativity

Who are you working with? 

I work with performers, creatives, productions, and artistic organizations. I infuse the Toolkit in all of my intimacy and consulting work, and it’s especially useful when working on scenes of intimacy. I’ve specifically adapted the Toolkit to help performers tackle audition nerves, bounce back faster, and tap into their creativity when stressed. 

How are you working with The Resilience Toolkit? 

I work as an intimacy coordinator and an intimacy director. What that means is I act as a facilitator for scenes of intimacy, simulated sex, and nudity, on stage and screen within the entertainment industry. That can also have to do with hyper exposed scenes that draw on an actor’s personal identity, as well. What that entails is a lot of training around consent. A lot of people have a background in mental health. I have a masters certificate in sexuality, women, and gender and clinical psych and education, and that world actually led me to the Resilience Toolkit – that’s how I found it was through that role. Doing any sort of intense scene, whether it be, you know, simulated sex, nudity, or any intense content, it’s a stressful thing. Film sets in general are just stressful, and there’s never enough time. There’s never enough money, especially in theater. It takes a lot of work at a really, really fast pace. So the stress involved is already at a heightened level. And what really drew me to the Toolkit was the fact that there are these practices that you can use to settle and to decrease the stress within 30 seconds to 2 minutes. That’s so efficient and so great. And then, when I actually started doing the Toolkit, that’s when it kind of opened up everything else as the Toolkit really is that trojan horse, and really changed how I approach advocacy and empowerment within my work especially.

Then I also specifically work with the Toolkit in a public facing way, working with performers to manage audition stress. I have a background as a performer and a puppeteer, and 90% of the job is going on interviews and auditioning. It’s a different skill set than a performing skill set, and part of that skill set really involves being able to bounce back quickly. It’s a lot of emotional, physical, and mental labor. There’s a lot of prep work, there’s a lot of training, that is all unpaid. It’s absolutely all unpaid. And so add on top of that, that a lot of the times, you’ll have 5 people in the room, and only one of you will get the part. So unfortunately there is a scarcity mindset to it, because there is only a finite amount of roles or positions. And so what I did personally was, I started applying the Toolkit to when I was auditioning, and what it really opened up for me was just this relief and release from judgment. And it got me to be able to work creatively within my stress states rather than clamping them down, pushing them down, pretending that they didn’t exist, because it can be really distracting, and it can prevent you from accessing your creativity or telling a story – it’ll pull you out of the story immediately as a performer. So to be able to actually build that self-awareness like, “Oh, I’m in a stress state right now…I popped into fight/flight…or I’m having a bit of a freeze shut down…Or oh, I notice myself judging and shaming myself for doing that. Okay, cool. How do I then practice a tool to get back into it?” 

Personification was the name of the game with a lot of American acting schools and schools of thought. That idea was that you would always just use substitutions – you would go into your own past experiences and you would use that as fodder for the story, and to help ignite it. And the shift for me that’s been pretty radical with the Toolkit is that a lot of times when I would use personification it was kind of a crap shoot of whether it would work or it wouldn’t work for me, and what I now understand is why it started to not work for me, or it actually would take a lot of pushing through. It would take a lot more energy and attention and hyperarousal in order to access the intensity required for the role or for the story. And what I’m realizing now is that’s just the greater and greater stress that I was under. Because I was pulling from my past experiences and it wasn’t necessarily a safe environment to do that. And so I was promoting my own dysregulation with it. And, to some extent, the arts in general are a field that promotes dysregulation. I tend to think about catharsis now, or even entertainment now, as the purposeful dysregulation of an audience, to then regulate them. And when you’re doing that also as a performer, with personalization, if it’s not safe, and if you don’t have a way of coming back into yourself and grounding and recentering, then it just becomes this perpetual state of dysregulation, and seeking greater and greater dysregulation in order to get back into the intensity required for the storytelling. And what shifted for me with the Toolkit which has been such a cool thing that I’m so excited to share with people, is that a lot of the times when I can decrease my stress or get back into my social engagement, what happens is that, as you all know, a lot of the times coming into connection means coming into feeling. So the amount of dysregulation that I would need  – in actually regulating that, I would be able to connect more deeply with the story. Because the emotional life that was needed for the character was already there – I didn’t have to flip myself over backwards in order to find it. Instead, it’s more of a sustainable process to be able to come into connection and get back into that creativity aspect of it as well.

In my field there’s always going to be dysregulation. I can use an extreme example, like when working on scenes of intimacy that involve sexual violence sexual violence, there is always going to be a certain amount of dysregulation there, because the intensity of the story that you are telling is really fucking stressful. So because it is so stressful, that amount of dysregulation is a good match for the moment. But it’s about being able to differentiate between character in the story that you are telling, versus human being in the space that can then be proud of the work that they did that day and leave it at work and go home and get a good night’s sleep and be able to come back the next day, and either, if you’re on stage, repeat the process 8 times a week, or if you’re on a film set, repeat it until the movie is over. 

I also combine the Toolkit with a lot of consent-based practices and some of my own training from intimacy coordination and conflict mediation, too. Because a lot of the times when I’m facilitating, I’m working through differences in people’s boundaries which may or may not align, so then trying to find alternative and creative solutions for seemingly mismatched situations. I think too, one way that I use the Toolkit in my work that is, always surprising, and also very much unspoken of, is to be an anchor in the space – to be a regulated anchor in the space – so that people, whether it be the crew, whether it be the production stuff, whether it be the performers or the directors, so that I can help them regulate in the moment when and if they choose to. Is a different way of being. I’m sure other facilitators especially realize this, that dealing with my own personal regulation actually enables so much more to be done and to be achieved, and creativity within the space. 

I guess what surprised me most about the Toolkit is how much my own dysregulation, like when I become activated, how much that is a sign that I’m not actually present and able to serve in the space. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but when judgment really starts to kick in, that’s what I’m now working on – is clocking it as dysregulation, which, then, if I can bring in a tool at a time, if it’s appropriate, if it is helpful, if it’s going to help me in the situation, it allows for me to take that extra 30 seconds to then find a different solution. It’s just really nice to have these mile markers, trail markers, signs that learning The Toolkit has provided, so that I don’t have to just resort to judging myself or seeing it as my own personal failing if I do jump into flight/flight, if I do jump even just a little bit. And oftentimes it is in the subtleties rather than the big jump into distress. That’s probably been the best learning for me that I’m really surprised by – is how much, when I feel judgment coming on or when I notice myself judging a situation, how much easier it is to then move through a problem after I bring in a Toolkit practice.

And my role is also kind of to “fix” the situation – to provide a pathway forward, to help negotiate and facilitate within a space. So part of that fixing energy (of fight/flight) is always there, and that is something that is always going to be pushed up against. I think for me how I notice it is especially if I want to fix something for someone else, for one specific person, because they are having a certain experience. And what the Toolkit has helped me with that is to just withstand greater discomfort in not being able to fix something for someone else, and/or at least to give myself and them the gift of time to figure out how they want to move through it. That collaboration and the empowerment too. To not have to fix it for them in a way that empowers them, because I think especially working with performers, a lot of the times performers aren’t really given a lot of agency over their bodies, over their artistic choices, over the words that they say. So to be able to give some of that empowerment back…that’s the tricky thing is that empowerment isn’t always about feeling good. Sometimes it is about being able to make the harder decisions, and to make them with conviction, regardless of whether you want to or not, or if it feels good.

What has been most satisfying in your work as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator?

I like to call it “the click,” that moment of deep knowing and relief when a client realizes that they don’t have to push through discomfort or give up a part of themselves in order to create art. When clients learn this, especially when it drops into their bodies, our work then becomes joyful and full of creative possibilities. 

Describe a challenge you have encountered in your work as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator.

Performers in general and artists in general, tend to have a greater awareness of tapping into their bodies, or their emotions, or their thoughts, and they go deep, really fast. So a lot of the time I think the greatest challenge that I have is h when working in a field where catharsis is is such a big aspect of it and a goal of the space, then how to actually bring in those smaller steps of settling so that performers can sustain throughout the entire performance, or so directors can sustain throughout the entire filming process, or what have you. So that they’re not burnt out or exhausted, and collapsing by the end of it. And part of that difficulty is just dealing with these great shifts in arousal, particularly when within the space those great shifts in arousal are actually really valued, and they’re seen as important factors of the artistic process. Which maybe there are and maybe they aren’t – that’s not for me to judge. The greatest challenge for me is when that is already in the culture of creating art or telling a story, how then, to add value with smaller shifts, with smaller sizes of settling, how to bring that in, or even titration – to bring that in as well when a lot of the times people just really want that payoff, that release, that relief. It’s actually what I struggled with in the toolkit as well is banking in those smaller practices, those smaller acts of settling, and just trusting that was actually enough. Especially after my first 6 months of the Toolkit because a lot of times in my first 6 months in the Toolkit, I would settle really fast and really quickly, and it was just too much sometimes. And that’s what I’m finding within my work, is that a lot of the time, people want to settle really fast and quickly, and other times they just want to do it really gradually, but they don’t necessarily value the gradual. And so the challenge is how to meet people at each stage based on what they value, and then also providing other possibilities, and ways of being and ways of working that, going back to empowerment and advocacy, that they can then pick up or put down as they see fit for them and as best their process.

Performing is a mobilization response, like if we’re acting  or doing, it requires mobilization, and a lot of the times what that then translates into is hypervigilance, which is why then a lot of people then just collapse at the end of the day, and get really exhausted and burn out. So it’s working within that. The biggest difficulty for me is when what’s familiar isn’t necessarily all that’s possible. When the familiar just feels safer than the unknown.

How are you seeing alchemical resilience and transformation show up in the work that you’re doing? 

The entertainment industry, and maybe I can just speak to the theater industry in New York City, is undergoing major shifts with DEI initiatives and looking at areas of inequity, and who gets representation, and whose story gets told, and who’s behind the table, who is in what position, and how does that affect the space? And so I’m seeing alchemical resilience in the shifts that the industry is making. I don’t see it as a big picture thing – I see it more in the individual change that is happening based on certain organizations that are doing work, that are able to sustain it, that are taking their time with it. I see it also in how performers are orienting towards their work now. In general, a lot of my friends are performers and creators, and during the pandemic, especially for theater makers, we didn’t have jobs. We did not have an industry anymore. And for a few months there we didn’t know if it was ever going to come back. So I see it now in the way that people have been able to pause, been able to reconnect with their art, and rather than following the script of where you’re supposed to live in the world, how you’re supposed to create, what you’re supposed to wear to an audition, where you’re supposed to go to audition, what theater even looks like anymore, who’s working is getting done – in all of that reassessment, I’m seeing people make more sustainable life choices, or more sustainable choices for their careers so that it gets back to like the joy of it and that ability to self-advocate for the career that you want, rather than the only career that is available to you, or the only track that is available to you. 

I see it more in the small acts. Like, I see it in my friend going to an audition in the morning, and not pushing through to something else, and not beating herself up, but then going to be able to pick her kid up at 1 pm every day. I see it in the ways that my friends are able to have full home lives without letting a show or a feature take over their lives. I see it with people actually asking for assistance, and calling out of a process, or taking a day off and having somebody else calling a friend, or calling a colleague to cover them for that day. I don’t necessarily see it in the system, but I see it in those practices, and I also see it in the way that people are willing to remain engaged and work through it without getting burnt out by it. And there’s less there’s a lot less shame, too. I’m seeing a lot less shame.

What’s something that has piqued your interest recently that you would want to share with other Toolkit facilitators?

I am always fascinated by, and wanting to promote media literacy. Entertainment and storytelling is used a lot of the time for people as an escape, as a way to be moved to connect, especially if it’s theater. Or you go to see a movie in a theater – it is a collective experience. What’s happening – with that now taking a little bit of a shift, especially with social media being where it is, and especially with the pandemic and everything being online – is that a lot of people don’t know how TV is made, how films are made, how shows are made, and don’t understand that when you are watching a scene of intimacy on HBO, it is completely simulated…it is not a thing. It’s camera angles. It’s just prosthetics. It is not real. And that can often burst people’s bubble, because it ruins the fantasy. It ruins the escape. And I guess this is where I’m just a little bit of a shit kicker and a killjoy, in that I want to know that something was made ethically. When I’m watching a story around trauma or around violence, I want to know that no one was injured. I want to know that everyone there is consenting. That will actually enable me to enjoy it more rather than less, knowing that it’s not real. 

Where that line really gets blurred is around documentary films because documentary films are about real life. They’re about things that happen in real life. But again, it’s all in the framing, it’s in the editing. I just read an article that was really interesting, about the ethics of documentary filmmaking, particularly when you’re making a film under capitalism (which we always are), so what does that then look like? And it has a larger impact with not only who are we putting in front of the camera, but how are subjects being compensated, if they’re being compensated for their time. What happens after a film is released? How much time is put into it? What are the stories that are being told, and what are the stories that actually aren’t being told, due to distribution issues, or not getting people to see it, or not having the right marketing? I find that very interesting. I also find it interesting because anytime that we can ensure greater understanding, I think you can actually find greater pleasure from it. And you also can like something not just because it made you feel something, but because it actually ignited something greater or different or bigger in you. 

The way that I came into media literacy was that there are some schools that are actually teaching sex ed and media literacy with porn, with teenagers. There are few, I think, that were also in the new recently – I read a couple of articles about that. But the documentary film one was very interesting, especially because I know with my schooling, I was in a clinical psych department, and they used documentary films as case studies. I had to explain to my teacher in the group that, the way that this was framed, is based on editing. It’s not a true to life representation. It literally is how a film is made. Which is primarily on the editing floor.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Storytelling in general has a long tradition of being associated with healing and healing practices. And Nkem kind of caused me to have an identity crisis when she told me there is no healing in catharsis, and I had to sit with that and I had to really explore, “well, why am I doing what I am doing? I thought I was healing and telling stories!” and all of that. And how I’ve started to think about it in general is through the Toolkit and is through behavior change, and specifically looking at the function of stories within moving from precontemplation to contemplation. So this is how I’ve started to think about storytelling, really, as dramatic relief, as the as the way for people to begin their process of getting ready, of finally being able to see that, and which would then fits with empathy bridges that are being built through storytelling, and especially through telling different types of stories and having different representation, that is very important, and give people the the opportunity to see what’s possible, and to see themselves, and to see their stories. 

But that’s not the whole step – telling the story isn’t the whole step in healing. What the next step is then going out into your life and moving through those behavior change stages, making the change. What I do worry about a lot with the way that storytelling has such an impact and importance in people’s lives – and cross-culturally, truly too – but that’s not the change. It is a step on the way to change, on the way to alchemical resilience and healing. But it is not the full behavior change. That’s kind of how I’ve started to think about it, and for me personally, it’s helped me then come to terms with the fact that I work in an industry where people are going to be constantly dysregulated on purpose. That’s what really caused me to have an identity crisis –  it’s like, “wait a minute. I work in an industry where people are purposefully dysregulated!” And now for me, the purpose for that dysregulation has changed so that it stops being about the dysregulation, and it starts being about the seed that it is planting in an audience member’s own journey. 

If you are interested in connecting with Alison, you can find them on Instagram: @cheektocheekintimacy and Facebook: Cheek to Cheek Intimacy.

Free Info Session: Become a Certified Facilitator of The Resilience Toolkit

By News
Join the creator of The Resilience Toolkit, Nkem Ndefo, and Toolkit Certification Trainer, Devika Shankar for a free Info Session April 20th at 6pm PT/9pm ET – Sign up here!
Discover a trauma-informed, embodied approach to working with clients with The Resilience Toolkit Facilitator Certification Program. Join the creator of The Resilience Toolkit, Nkem Ndefo, for this live info session and find out how our 18-week professional training prepares you to bring The Toolkit into the world and inspire positive change.

In this free, 1-hour session, Nkem and Devika will explain the genesis of the Certification Program, share the course curriculum and expectations, and answer any questions you might have about the program. Learn how Certified Facilitators are applying The Toolkit in their work and having an impact on their professional and personal communities.

The Resilience Toolkit Facilitator Certification program is a rich experiential process that gives you the tools to take The Toolkit into the world. In an all-virtual format, the cohort-based program consists of recorded and live lectures, small group mentoring and discussion, peer and independent practice sessions, suggested reading and reflective writing, supervised teaching, and case consultation. Interactive and cooperative learning foster responsibility, self-awareness, and competency.

Grounded in theory and a social justice context, The Resilience Toolkit utilizes carefully curated evidence-based, and promising stress reduction practices. These mindfulness and movement skills promote embodied self-awareness, nervous system and emotional regulation, and interpersonal connection. The Toolkit empowers people with an intersectional framework to identify their own stress cycles, confidently implement appropriate regulation skills in a way that honors cultural and historical experiences, and effectively build resilience over time.The Resilience Toolkit is used at organizations such as Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and Santa Barbara City College, and in private practices across the world. XYZ, and many more.

The Resilience Toolkit Facilitator Certification Program prepares you to implement The Resilience Toolkit in your own life, so you can authentically and competently guide others along a path of healing and transformation.

All are welcome to attend this free, live info session April 20th at 6pm PT/9pm ET – Register here!

Closed captioning is available. Session recording will be sent to all registered participants. Have questions? Contact us at

Facilitator Feature: Camille Barton

By News

Camille Sapara Barton (they/them) is a Social Imagineer who operates as a catalyst for social change, dedicated to creating networks of care and liveable futures. They work as an artist, facilitator, consultant and curator across the realms of embodied social justice, grief, pleasure and drug policy. 

Rooted in Black feminism, ecology and harm reduction, Camille uses creativity, alongside embodied practices, to create culture change in fields ranging from psychedelic assisted therapy to arts education.

In 2022, Camille launched the GEN Grief Toolkit – a collection of embodied grief rituals to support personal and community grief work. They are currently based in Amsterdam, working as the Director of Ecologies of Transformation, a temporary masters programme at Sandberg Institute, that researches how art making and embodiment can create social change.

Read on to learn more about the incredible work Camille is doing and their experiences as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator.

Describe your experience of facilitating The Resilience Toolkit in 1-2 words.

Expansive. Spiral.

How are you working with The Resilience Toolkit? 

I’m using it in quite a few different applications. I would say there are maybe 3 or 4 main strands of how I’m using it. The first strand is really woven into arts education. Within the Ecologies of Transformation program, the group I’m working with have had consistent Resilience Toolkit practice sessions and nervous system embodiment education with Char, who was actually in the same cohort as me in the certification. Since the first year they’ve been working with Char once every 2 weeks and also doing sessions to begin our classes, so they’ve all had a kind of personal practice. And that kind of way of talking and thinking about the felt sense and trying to work in trauma-informed ways has very much been woven into the ways that we’re thinking about our production together. So that feels like a quite dominant thread. 

There’s another thread in the grief work that I’ve been doing. I developed something called the GEN Grief Toolkit over the pandemic, which is a collection of embodied grief rituals and practices, which was originally developed to support environmental organizing, but also people’s personal use as well. And that used the Toolkit quite heavily, as a way for people to check in and see where they’re at before going into a ritual and a way to track if they’re becoming overwhelmed. And the invitation if they were becoming dissociated or overwhelm is actually to pause, use a practice, or just decide to kind of leave it at that point. So it’s using the Resilience Toolkit framework to expand people’s capacity to be with big sensations like grief. 

And then I also incorporate it into the work I do within the psychedelic assisted therapy space. I do a lot of trainings with soon to be and some current psychedelic assisted therapists, depending on the licensing in different states and places. A lot of the work I’m doing in that context is about resourcing them to use Toolkit practices or other embodied practices, to be more of an anchor point for their clients, and as a way to strengthen the therapeutic alliance and hopefully increase the beneficial outcomes for their clients. 

So I think those are the main threads. And then in just general facilitation, if I’m doing that in a range of spaces, I tend to offer practices with a bit of a Resilience Toolkit frame.

What has been most satisfying in your work as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator?

Seeing that The Toolkit works in emergency contexts. I was in a training last year where I was facilitating, and it was quite a big group. It was also at this stage of people starting to do things again, at that point in the pandemic when it was becoming more possible, but still quite precarious. I noticed that my needs for care in the space and the things I would have liked to be in the space, were not necessarily there. And so there were a few people that were struggling, and a few people that maybe could have been supported more if the organizers had anticipated that people might be coming with a little trauma, or people might have higher support needs, and asking, “what’s our capacity around what we can actually offer?” 

But because that hadn’t been done, we ended up being in a situation where we had one person in particular who was having quite pronounced trauma responses. There was a moment where I saw that this person was having quite a big danger response to loud noises, and I was able to go to them and immediately start engaging them consensually with Toolkit practices – finding something that maybe worked, really working in a trauma-informed way to to see what might be helpful for them to settle, and also really trying to allow my own nervous system to act as an anchor point for them. And it was the first time, I think, in a context like that where there had been this emergency moment, of really being able to see that within the space of 20 min or so this person’s state had really shifted.  So it deepened this knowing for me, of “oh wow, this really works!” And I felt quite pleased. 

Describe a challenge you have encountered in your work as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator.

I suppose the simplicity and the complexity of the Toolkit simultaneously means that when people have been practicing for a little while, and they feel comfortable with it, I’ve witnessed a desire for many to immediately start sharing and holding space for other people with the tools. Especially in the context of Ecologies of Transformation, it’s been challenging to articulate why that’s not the best approach. And also to acknowledge my own contradictions in the sense that I do think peer support and peer practice is very important and I don’t think credentialing is the only pathway to legitimacy…and I also see that we’re in a time where many people do something for 2 weeks, and then think they’re an expert, and we need to have some kind of containers for rigor and community accountability around how we demonstrate skill, how we hold space. So I feel those kinds of tensions in me and very much in relation to the desire that people have to receive this information and then immediately start holding space.

How are you seeing alchemical resilience and transformation show up in the work that you’re doing? 

I think I am seeing it in different spheres. I’ve seen a lot within myself, entering the challenge of this role, being in this position of responsibility, and working in an institutional context – which I haven’t worked in, in a long time, having been a freelancer for about 6 or 7 years. I’ve seen a lot of that within myself – just how to continue resourcing and being with bigger sensation and being with bigger things to hold, and yet managing to track my capacity and resource myself. So there’s been a lot internally in my own experience, by staying with the practice, that has allowed me to stay in this job and stay in the process. 

I think what I’m finding interesting is looking at the community and the peers I’m working with who, for example, have been doing stuff with the Grief Toolkit. I know that a collective in London called Misery, that originally started by offering sober club nights to the queer BIPOC community as a way to address mental health disparities. And so they would have art therapy interventions, and sometimes therapists at their parties you could have small sessions with. During the pandemic they changed to doing herbal medicine foraging walks outside with people. And now that they’ve just about started to do events again, they’ve actually begun to incorporate grief rituals within those contexts. I’m really curious and delighted to see these kind of interventions coming into spaces that maybe, have been more one dimensional or commercial, and actually trying to meet people where they’re coming to address the needs that they have in ways that can be playful and supportive and pleasurable. 

I think I’m also seeing it in the psychedelic assisted therapy context. That’s such an intense space, because so much is changing and there’s a real gold rush energy about it sometimes. But even just noticing where the conversation was 5 years ago, there was so little being talked about around equity or access, or racial trauma, or even prioritizing therapists of color being included or trained, or prioritizing BIPOC folks even in being included in studies. And so tracking, what was happening in 2017-2018 to now is pretty amazing because of a smallish group of people who really started to push for that to be expanded. And now there’s just such a vibrant ecosystem of people working to try and create more of the structures we need for this to work for us.

The concept of alchemical resilience feels quite unique compared to a lot of the ways that embodied or somatic trainings or practices are being offered at the moment. I really appreciate how it gives space for collective action and engagement.

Describe any special projects you are working on.

With the process with Ecologies of Transformation, I’ve been working with this group for nearly 2 years now, and we’re coming to the end of the course in June. It’s been really beautiful to see the arc for them, and how they’re relating to not only their own bodies, but the way that they’re shaping work, and the way that they’re considering the nervous system states of people that are coming to engage with them in their projects. And then thinking about how they can allow people to tap into their own choice and agency around what kind of experience they might be open to in the moment. Tt’s beautiful just to see the applications of these things really blossoming now, as they prepare for this graduation show in June. 

I also think about my intention to do this process, which I’ve often had to center in, and ask, “why did I choose to do this again?” I’m really wanting to try and create more capacity and more of a network in the European context of people who are trying to weave in nervous system regulation and more embodied approaches to social change, because there’s so many peers and inspiring people and mentors in my life who are on Turtle Island, and so I often have this feeling like, “how can I have more community in proximity – in physical proximity?” And so I’m starting to feel quite excited about that, of realizing that this group of people I’ve been working with in this particular way actually get to be in relationship to me in all these unknown ways in the future. Which is feeling really joyous.

What’s something that has piqued your interest recently that you would want to share with other Toolkit facilitators?

I would love to share about a book I just finished reading by Susan Raffo, called Liberated to the Bone. I really, really enjoyed it. It’s the new book that’s out as part of the Emergence Strategy series, and Susan Raffo has been involved, I think, with Cara Page and the folks who really were developing the framing around healing justice. It’s just a beautiful offering that feels again similar to this piece around alchemical resilience. It feels very much about how embodied healing is relational – the relational components – beyond just the individual frame. And that’s what I find so juicy and needed for me more and more, is just to have this relational context and be tracking how I’m moving with and working with that.

If you are interested in connecting with Camille, you can find them on instagram: @afrooankali

Facilitator Feature: Sheila Diggs

By News

With a specialization in executive coaching and team development, Sheila has worked extensively with professionals in financial services, international development, communications, nonprofit and healthcare organizations to enhance their results through effective leadership.  Areas of coaching include strategy development, designing strategies to actualize vision, enhancing emotional intelligence, leveraging diverse working environments, enhancing interpersonal communication, developing resilience, work/life balance and mindfulness. Sheila’s coaching/consulting style is described as results oriented, insightful and supportive with an ability to challenge limiting assumptions.

Sheila Diggs (she/her) is a Certified Resilience Toolkit Facilitator (a graduate of Certification Cohort 9) working in Silver Spring, Maryland. She works with leaders, teams, and managers in organizations.

This month, we spoke with Sheila about her experiences as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator and the incredible work she is doing. We are so excited to highlight her! Read below.

Describe your experience of facilitating The Resilience Toolkit in a few words.

I feel like sharing these practices reduces suffering and I am grateful for the ability to impact people in that way.

How are you working with The Resilience Toolkit? 

I feel like I’m starting to click the Toolkit with other things. I’m going through somatic experiencing certification, so it’s connected. But what I love about the Toolkit is that it’s actually a toolkit. It has structured practices that can be replicable, whereas what I feel is different, for example with the somatic experiencing, it’s more than noticing of people in the moment, and bringing awareness to them. It may be slowing movements down to do the “completion cycle” of the nervous system. So it’s a little bit different. But I do feel like I’m integrating both of them, because I feel like practice is a way in which people can take something and they can experience the benefits or the impacts over time. Whereas if you don’t have a practice, if you don’t have things that are replicable, then you don’t always know what do outside of interactions with a coach or a training. 

I can give kind of an example of I have combined it. I have an individual executive coaching client that’s in marketing communication. Anybody that’s in that arena has a lot of energy, very sympathetic nervous system energy, because that’s the arena that they operate in. So this person is in charge of a really big restructuring of the business within the organization that they’re in. And they’re also doing their other job with marketing and communication. So it’s like culture change, introducing new technologies. This is also a female within a largely male (white male) organization, and so there’s just a lot of things that generate some sense of pressure and activation. So with this person they always come into this session, and they’re very, very up. It’s very sympathetic. I met with them yesterday, and I described to them, I always feel like when I get on the video with them. It’s like I’m trying to catch up to them. It’s like they’re running down the road like a 1,000 miles an hour. And I don’t – my nervous system wants to try to catch up, and so I go to the Toolkit. What has helped me is that I’m aware of my nervous system wanting to do that now. Is that what I want to do for this client? Because I’m trying to catch up with them the whole time. Then it becomes co-regulating – but is it co-regulating in the way that is beneficial? So one of the things that I’ve done is that I notice a lot of the moves that they make, so kind of going to some of the other modalities to slow that down. Arriving within the space, one of the movements of the person was a lot of hand movements. And they also just do this thing with their shoulders. So slowing it down. And you could see the impact on the nervous system in doing that. But then I thought about going to the Toolkit – this regulatory flexibility. So what do you have to give yourself some flexibility in the moment, because they may not be aware that their shoulders are like this, or what their hands are doing. And so I introduced arm sweeps and leg sweeps, and different practices that we have in the Toolkit. And so at the end, this person now has, like 5 different practices that they can bring into their work that is helping them have a flexibility to choose. Maybe the arm sweeps don’t work like the butterfly hug – maybe it was really activating for them. We did orienting, which we don’t know how it would work, and they liked that. So that then becomes the practice. That to me is the way I’ve integrated it. I can take that practice element and introduce it to people, and it’s something they can use. I introduce the nervous system and the window of capacity and all that. So it’s good knowledge, understanding, slowing down, regulating, and then having a practice. 

What has been most satisfying in your work as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator?

Most people have an experience to the Toolkit practices and it is satisfying to see the impact on people feeling more attuned to themselves and less stressed almost immediately. I’ve dealt with a lot of different modalities in my years of working, and I think with the somatic pieces, it just has a more of an immediate effect that you can help enable people to really become more aware of the changes in themselves. That’s the other part of this, is that it’s also building that interoception, building that awareness, that I think many people just don’t even have access to around their bodies. That’s something that seems like it just stays with people – that once they’re aware of it, they don’t lose that. It’s another modality of learning that is very powerful. I’ve realized that because we don’t have as many defenses around our body as we do around our minds, as we do around our emotions, the body is more unexplored territory for many people, so their experiences of any changes are more obvious for them.

Describe a challenge you have encountered in your work as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator.

Well, I think probably the largest challenge is doing the work in the arena of work that I do – in organizations. It’s very head thinking based, so I think the biggest challenge is for people seeing some value in utilizing the body to affect them. For some people, it seems very – I’ll use the word “woo woo,”  just because it’s not what we are brought up with. We have certain perspectives about what the body is for, a lot of it is using it to carry around the brain. So I think that’s probably the biggest challenge – how I introduce the somatic aspect of it, how it’s useful. But I think the biggest thing is that once people have an experience of it, then it’s good. But you have to have that element of safety for them to regulate, because when you’re cynical, skeptical, that can impact and reinforce their mindset about why it wouldn’t work. But that’s relationship building, encouraging people to be curious and try things out. 

And then as a facilitator, it’s also letting it go if it didn’t work out for them because they weren’t willing to really participate – being okay with that. It’s also important to have compassion that this stuff can bring up memories and traumas. It can really unlock a lot of things that people have spent so much energy preventing the unlocking of. So not taking it personally, when maybe they get mad or they go “this is a waste of time” or you see their frustration – that’s the nervous system state that they’re in. So for me not to take that personally, or think that that has anything to do with me, because it really really doesn’t. I would say, that’s the maturity that I feel like I’ve gotten to since doing the certification, because in the beginning I didn’t feel as certain about what I was doing. Now I feel a lot more certain – I’ve been involved in the practice groups for over a year, then with my own practice – I’m more comfortable because I know it works. 

How are you seeing alchemical resilience and transformation show up in the work that you’re doing? 

I’m noticing how people experience themselves differently. You know, I had another client who would describe themselves as very introverted, and yet they had to be in a C level leadership position in an organization where they have to engage with people, groups, and events, and they could just see how draining that was for them. They would come into a room, and they would just make sure they back themselves up against a wall. So we talked about that being their nervous system wanting protection and safety, because there was this sense of being over-exposed…so at least I’m not exposed from the back. And so then we worked with how to take steps and thresholds into spaces. Developing a process, maybe doing some ankle rolls, and then take a few steps. And then some more ankle rolls, and another few steps. Maybe using arm sweeps that aren’t super obvious. Or maybe you do those things before walking into that event – that kind of taking things slowly and thresholding. They talked about the impact that that had on them – they don’t have to rush into things, their nervous system doesn’t have to push them into a space, that they can actually move themselves into that space in a way that supports their nervous system. So they’re having more agency around themselves. And so have that awareness so that they don’t walk right into a room – they stop. They may do some orienting. That was the other big thing – we talked about orienting before moving into a space. 

So when we say alchemical, it’s like that practice is now kind of embedded into a way in which they operate, and they can use it whenever they feel like they need to access it. And they have the ability to notice that it’s not really unsafe, it’s just that my nervous system feels like it’s not okay. So what can I do with my nervous system? Because I need to be in this meeting. So what can I do to support my nervous system? And so that feels very powerful for people – that I don’t just have to feel overwhelmed. I can actually do some things that will enable me to give myself more space.

Describe any special projects you are working on.

I am incorporating the Resilience Toolkit  in client sessions and leadership trainings.  Recently, I have begun to work with a group of BIPOC women and introduce the Toolkit. I love that I am able to have an impact with my community in that way.

I guess in some ways I’m making it unspecial, I do feel like I can incorporate the Toolkit anywhere, and that’s what’s nice. It’s not as if it has to be a particular area. I’ve included it in my coaching with individual clients, in group trainings with larger groups that I work with, and with any kind of client group. You could insert it almost anywhere. And I always context it with a little bit of knowledge around the nervous system. I think a lot of people have heard of flight/flight/freeze, but we don’t really understand what that means within us. So that’s something that I I felt like I got a lot out of in the certification – just my learning around the nervous system and how it works, how it impacts us. So that little cognitive piece is helpful. And then the experiential piece with the actual practices gives people an immediate feeling of “oh, okay. Now I understand.” The theory and the practice and the result all come together.

What’s something that has piqued your interest recently that you would want to share with other Toolkit facilitators?

I really want to think about this aspect of resilience relative to a team. I’m doing this training called Resilience at Work. They don’t have the somatic piece, but they’ve broken it down into 7 different elements of resilience. They have it for an individual, for teams, and also for organizations. So I’m just thinking about this more collective resilience – it’s not just one person or individuals building resilience as they work together. But how does the group or how does the team hold resilience as they work together? And how do they build support for each other around that? I am always challenged with culture change and organizational change. It’s just so big and challenging and long term. So I’m thinking more of this next level, of that kind of collective holding. That’s what I’m more interested in right now is the individual to the group level. And how that can be used to support people as they work together. 

I think the other thing I thought of is that I also want to see – and haven’t really dipped my toe in this so much – but I did study with Karla McLaren, who has done a lot of work on emotions. She’s written this book, The Language of Emotions. She basically says that all emotions are good, or helpful, and asks, “What are they communicating to us?” And so I want to see how that connects to the somatics element. I found her work very helpful. The way she has a framework around all the different emotions, and the questions that they’re asking of us, and how we can embrace them. Some of them we like to embrace, but most of them we are like, “I can’t deal with that.” I want to think about that relative to the somatics as well as more the thinking elements in theory.

Anything else you would like to share.

I’ve really found doing the practice groups has been so helpful. Because it’s one of the ways in which I don’t feel like I lose my learning, and I feel like I deepen my learning. So that would be something I would just encourage for everyone that goes through the Resilience Toolkit. It gives you that space to get another layer of what we learned in the certification and what we learned in the initial trainings. There’s just a little bit more depth, a little bit more subtlety, and even more ways of doing things than we learned. So yeah, that’s been such a benefit for me.

Doing this certification really has been one of the most impactful trainings I’ve taken over all the years that I’ve been doing things and I love that I’m in another arena of learning that I’m actually enjoying. I think of myself when I came in – I mean, I kind of went in head first. I saw Nkem in one thing, and I said “I’m taking this certificate,” but you know that’s a little how my intuition works sometimes. But I just felt so lost when I started that certification. It’s intense training! But I learned to sit back, and just chill out. Now I feel my own maturity level over time. And I think that that’s an obvious thing that should happen, but I just have really appreciated all of the support features that Lumos has. You know, and not just giving you a training, and then you’re done.

If you are interested in connecting with Sheila, you can find her on LinkedIn: 

Facilitator Feature: Chantal Donnelly

By News

Headshot of Chantal smiling. She is wearing red and white.Chantal Donnelly (she/her) is a physical therapist and owner of Body Insight – a wellness company. She has two rehabilitation videos on the market: Strong Knees and Pain Free at Work. After noticing that her patients’ physical therapy progress was often limited by stress, she joined the Resilience Toolkit program to improve her effectiveness as a healing practitioner.

Chantal is a Certified Resilience Toolkit Facilitator (a graduate of Certification Cohort 6)  working in the Los Angeles area. She does private facilitation with individuals as well as group workshops, and specializes in working with people with chronic pain or chronic illness. She has just submitted the first draft of a book she is writing with the working title SETTLED: How to Find Calm in a World That Requires Being Stressed. It is a stress guidebook from a physical therapy perspective.

We had the pleasure of talking with Chantal about her experiences as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator, and are excited to shine a light on the amazing work she is doing! Read below.

Describe your experience of facilitating The Resilience Toolkit in 1-2 words.

Soul Filling

How are you working with The Resilience Toolkit? 

I use the guiding questions a lot as the basis, the foundation of what I do. I see a lot of physical therapy patients. And so if I’m working with patients whose pain has been set off by a stressful event or their progress is very clearly limited by stressors in their life that are ongoing and unyielding, then those are the types of patients, who I ask, “are you interested in learning about this, calming your nervous system down?” The way I put it is that my hands can unwind muscle and tendons and connective tissue, but life tends to wind it back up again. And so it’s this nervous system down regulation that helps to keep the unwinding that I can do with my physical therapy techniques. It kind of gives it more stick and more stay. So with that group of patients – it tends to be my chronic pain patients – I will offer that to them, and then I’ll start with the guiding questions and the framework of polyvagal theory. I’ll bring in other theories we learn, too, but start with polyvagal to give them an idea of how stress works and how relaxation works.

And then the tools. I do a combination of tools, and what I have found is that my physical therapy background gives me a really good perspective of that body-up piece that we focus on. Because that’s what I do – I do body. I used to do it in a different way that was very much a traditional physical therapy way. But I have that anatomy and physiology background, and that tends to help me with Toolkit stuff. So, for example, if I teach someone settling breath, I also teach them how not to engage their scalene muscles, because the scalenes are involved in fight/flight. And so, if you have chronically tight scalenes there’s almost a mismatch in the neuroception where your body is like, “no, no, no, we’re tight here, we’re in fight/flight.” And when you teach someone how to do settling breath, sometimes they engage those scalene muscles. And then being able to do manual therapy to the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which is innervated by one of the social engagement nerves. 

So being able to incorporate what I do as a physical therapist, with my knowledge that I received from the Toolkit. If I’m gonna do orienting, for example, I might work on someone’s scalenes first. Get those muscles to relax a little bit, and then Orient. Or maybe I do a pre- and post- kind of a test. “Let’s do Orient without the sternocleidomastoid release. And then I do that release which is basically the portal to the parasympathetic ventral vagus in particular. So allowing that Orient to maybe be even that much more effective.

And then I will also use tools that are not specifically Resilience Toolkit. I do some of Stanley Rosenberg’s eye movement, which is basically EMDR. What I found is that there’s a lot of nerve gliding type work that we do in physical therapy because nerves can get stuck with adhesions and scar tissue and that cause pain. So you move your leg one way and you feel pain in your back, but it’s actually because the nerve is not gliding down the leg properly. I have found that those techniques really, literally help people with their nervous system. You can see people really regulate with that kind of work. So now that I have that understanding of what downregulation looks like in a human being, I’m able to see it in real-time with my patients. It’s kind of fun.

What has been most satisfying in your work as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator?

Seeing peoples’ “aha moments” when they begin to understand their stress responses.That shift from helplessness and shame to self-compassion is amazing to witness. You can see people changing in front of you as they start to understand that what they thought they were coming to you for was to be fixed, and suddenly to realize that they don’t need to be fixed, that what they’re experiencing is normal even though it might not feel comfortable to them. But that there’s also ways to feel less uncomfortable in their body. To understand not only is it normal, but it can get better because – that it’s not a pathology.

Describe a challenge you have encountered in your work as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator.

Well, when people come to me, they want physical therapy right? They want the hands on. So when I start telling them that there’s this nervous system component, first of all, they don’t even really know what the nervous system is. So it’s a challenge to get over the hurdle of saying “let’s try this, maybe this will help,” and they say, “Oh, I’m always going to be stressed. Unless I could get rid of my financial problems,” etc. And I say, “I can’t help with the stressors, but I can help you with your response. And yes, you should be stressed about that. And there’s a way to mitigate that a little bit.” So sometimes, getting people to understand how much their physical pain is interwoven with their stress responses can be challenging.

I’m thinking of a particular patient I had who was a district attorney, and a really conservative, uptight kind of guy. I told him his back pain was related to his stress, and he said, “I’m retired. What are you talking about? I don’t have any stress!” I told him that I had a sense that it was related, and the reason I said that to him is because I literally felt it with my hands when I was working on his back. I could feel from the way he was responding and breathing that it was stress related. But he never believed me, and he wasn’t really interested in any tools, so I didn’t push. And then the next time I saw him after he was discharged, I was out walking during the lockdown and he was driving by. He put his window down, and he said, “How did you know it was stress related?” It turns out his back flared up again at the beginning of the pandemic. I just knew!

So there’s that sort of barrier that comes up for me for sure. They think I’m saying, “it’s all in your head.” There’s also a component where people say, for example, “when I was skiing I hurt myself.” So I say, “I can feel that – I know you hurt yourself. And you’re not feeling as well because of stress, and a lot of times chronic pain and chronic stress overlap a lot. Especially if you become hypervigilant about your pain.” When the nervous system becomes hypervigilant about the pain, then you’ve got a problem. So I’m constantly dealing with the chronic pain mechanisms that rightfully activate the nervous system. But it can be difficult to convince someone that you believe that they are in pain, that they really do have structural problems, AND that the autonomic nervous system is also part of the problem.

How are you seeing alchemical resilience and transformation show up in the work that you’re doing? 

I am seeing it well with my chronic pain patients. I’m seeing people be able to step away from their pain and have space between their identity and their pain. And that’s a huge step for them. So I’m seeing a lot of that. Like when they flare up, they don’t freak out about it as much, and that creates resilience for somebody who either has chronic illness or chronic pain. It’s a game changer with my patients. And then I have some people who are clients, not physical therapy patients. With them, I’m seeing changes in parenting. I see a lot of moms, and with them I’m seeing just a softer approach to parenting. Those are the 2 biggies with the particular people that I work with. 

I had a client who, in our work together, we discovered together that she had coupled parenting with an experience with caretaking. She has 2 pretty young girls, I think, a one year old and a three year old. I actually talk about this in my book – I have a chapter on mismatching neuroception, if you want to call it that. (I have a little section on how Nkem encourages us not to call it “faulty neuroception.”) So this client had coupled parenting with being a caretaker, because she had taken care of her father, who was an alcoholic for a long time. Her body had almost equated caring for her kids as if something really bad was gonna happen, because it constantly did with her father when she was caretaking for him. And so she had this fight/flight response around being a parent that had nothing to do with her kids and nothing to do with being a parent. But as soon as her body went into caretaking mode, it got the brain got a little confused, thinking, “this usually ends up really bad.” Being able to unwind that just from talking about the tools, and how there’s the brain predictive thing. She started telling me about her dad, and I was like, “Hmm! So what do you think is going on there?” 

Describe any special projects you are working on.

I just submitted the first draft of a book I am writing. The working title is SETTLED: How to Find Calm in a World That Requires Being Stressed. It is a stress guidebook from a physical therapy perspective. The book was supposed to be about goals – how goals can be stressful, and how stress can sabotage goals – and how to pull those two things apart and be regulated as we reach towards our desires.  And now there are 2 chapters in the book about that, and now the book is fully about stress in general and stress management from a physical therapy lens. I’m still in the middle of the publishing journey, so it won’t be published until June or July.

What’s something that has piqued your interest recently that you would want to share with other Toolkit facilitators?

As far as things that piqued my interests – the entire book is a whole research project. So I have book after book after book after book about things that you wouldn’t even necessarily equate with stress. Every Sunday I’ve actually been on Instagram talking about a book that I quote in my book. I just talked about the last book I researched, The Molecule of More. So talking about dopamine, and how that affects our wanting to reach for goals, and affects our ability to be satisfied when we do reach them, and how that interplays with being up-regulated, because trying to get to a goal can be very stress inducing…just the idea of needing to be different than we are. I love that book.

Anything else you would like to share.

I’m hoping to do workshops, once this book gets out there and published. And really, just taking The Resilience Toolkit and molding it together with my physical therapy stuff, has been kind of fun. I’m so grateful for having that information, because I was kind of feeling a little stale with the physical therapy, and knew that this was a missing link for my patients. To be able to really bring those two things together has been pretty exciting.

If you are interested in connecting with Chantal, you can check out her website or find her on social media:




Scholarships Announced for The Resilience Toolkit Facilitator Certification Program

By News

The Resilience Toolkit Training Alliance is pleased to announce the first-ever scholarships for Cohort 12 of The Resilience Toolkit Facilitator Certification Program. These scholarships were generously underwritten by an anonymous donor and will increase representation, equity, and access to the Toolkit Facilitator Training Program.

Toolkit creator and Director of Certification Nkem Ndefo says, “Our hope is that this scholarship makes an impact in the lives of people who hold identities that are historically and systemically marginalized and who live and work in geographical areas that are historically and systemically marginalized.” 

With a focus on recruiting applicants who are part of the Global South, or where there are currently no Resilience Toolkit Facilitators, these scholarships seek to bring The Toolkit and its groundbreaking framework for transformation to people and communities that would otherwise not have access.

Currently, there are two $1,000 USD scholarships, which reduces the certification cost to $2,700 USD. 

Scholarship applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis by the Resilience Toolkit Certification Training Team. To be considered for Cohort 12, applications must be received by 10 December 2021.

Preference will be given for applicants who:

  • Have completed Resilience Toolkit Certification Program prerequisites
  • Hold historically and systematically marginalized identities
  • Live and work in geographical areas and with individuals, organizations, and/or communities that are historically and systematically marginalized
  • Live and work in the Global South
  • Live and work in areas where there are no Resilience Toolkit Facilitators
  • Describe a clear plan for using their Resilience Toolkit training with marginalized individuals, organizations, and/or communities
  • Agree to complete a post-certification quarterly survey tracking the impact of their Resilience Toolkit work, including demographics and numbers of people reached. 

Applicants will be notified of their selection by email four weeks before the start of each training cohort. For Cohort 12, applicants will be notified by 17 December 2021.

Applicants who are not selected will have the option to roll their application over for the subsequent training cohort. 

To apply for The Resilience Toolkit Facilitator Training Program Scholarship, please fill out this Google Form.

SEIU West Brings The Resilience Toolkit to Frontline Healthcare Workers

By News

In an effort to help reduce stress and building resilience for essential healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) partnered with Lumos Transforms to make The Resilience Toolkit available to the union’s 97,000 members and leaders.

Healthcare workers are facing unprecedented levels of stress as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic in the workplace and in their personal lives. The Resilience Toolkit utilizes promising stress reduction practices that reconnect people to a sense of relaxation and hope, even during difficult circumstances. By giving SEIU-UHW members self-care practices that are truly effective, within an accessible and sustainable framework, The Resilience Toolkit aims to help them grow resilience over time.  

The partnership between Lumos and SEIU-West included a series of live kick off events for members, conducted on Facebook. Members then opted in to The Resilience Toolkit training – a self-paced, six module video series facilitated by Nkem Ndefo, creator of The Resilience Toolkit and founder of Lumos Transforms. To further support workers on their journey, participants can attend 25-minute live video sessions, where they can ask questions, receive guidance, and connect with others who are using The Toolkit to help them through this difficult time. 

In the Coronavirus era, frontline healthcare workers are expected to operate at increased capacity, under a sustained level of high stress.  Now more than ever, it’s important for these workers to have accessible frameworks that not only get them through the work day, but help them rest and recover when they return home.

Toolkit presented at Tirisano Training Programme in South Africa

By News
Dr. Cheryl Grills, Kagiso Nkosi, and Nkem Ndefo standing together smiling

Dr. Cheryl Grills, Kagiso Nkosi, and Nkem Ndefo

Toolkit creator, Nkem Ndefo, facilitated two days of training with graduate students from nineSouth African universities as part of the Tirisano Training Programme. This is an NIH-funded consortium in partnership with UCLA to develop researchers of color with a knowledge base in chronic stress, trauma, and mental health in vulnerable, marginalized, and exploited populations using culturally relevant methods.

Nkem discussed topics such as Polyvagal theory, gendered stress responses, and appeasement throughout her presentations on biologic dysregulation of chronic stress and trauma. In attendance were students from the Forum for African Psychology who provided exciting and inspiring critical analysis.

Dr. Cheryl Grills and Nkem Ndefo smiling with arms around each other.

Dr. Cheryl Grills and Nkem Ndefo

This was Nkem’s second year participating in the project and presenting with Dr. Cheryl Grills. Dr.  Grills, a graduate of The Resilience Toolkit Training Program, shared the Emotional Emancipation Circle model, developed by Community Healing Network and The Association of Black Psychologists, which incorporates elements of The Toolkit to help Black people living with anti-Black racism.

Presentation slide projected on a pull down monitor

Due to enthusiasm and demand, Nkem is currently in the planning stages of bringing a cohort of The Resilience Toolkit Training Program to South Africa in 2020. Stay tuned for more information. 

Toolkit-Based Training Honored by LA Mayor’s Office

By News

The Los Angeles City Mayor’s office presented Lumos Transforms and creator of The Resilience Toolkit, Nkem Ndefo with a Certificate of Recognition on April 10, 2019. The Mayor’s Office of Public Safety recognized Lumos for The Resilience Toolkit-based training they did with the Mayor’s staff in the Gang Reduction and Youth Development program earlier in the year.

“Your knowledge and expertise has been of great value to the City of Los Angeles, and your dedication and willingness to collaborate has helped make our City a more trauma and resiliency-informed place.”