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The last issue mentioned our open day which was held on 19th September. The open day was a great success with various agencies attending including the Probation Service, Parole Board, HMP Frankland and various NHS services. Both staff and residents were given the chance to talk about their experiences and therapy on the Beacon. The feedback from agencies was very positive:
“Very informative afternoon, which gave a good insight into what The Beacon is all about. Thank you to the men that told their stories and life experiences. The garden is amazing!”
On 5th December we have a family day planned where the residents’ relatives and loved ones will have the opportunity to meet the core teams on an informal basis and find out more about what the treatment programme involves.
The Beacon garden is now being tidied up for the winter but we’ve added some photos from summer and early autumn to brighten up the newsletter.
In general, someone with a personality disorder will experience difficulties in how he or she thinks, perceives, feels or relates to others. According to Emergence, which is a user –led organisation set up to support all those affected by personality disorder , these difficulties will be persistent, pervasive and problematic.
Only a mental health professional will be able to diagnose a personality disorder.
The Mental Health Charity, Mind, outlines the main traits of Borderline Personality Disorder BPD);
Those with BPD may:
Having a personality disorder doesn’t mean you have a bad personality it means that some of your thoughts and feelings are so difficult to manage that they are severely affecting your ability to live the life that you want.
With the ban on smoking in prisons imminent in the next few years we asked one of our residents, Adam, how he managed with giving up smoking and moving to our non-smoking spur.
Q: What made you decide to quit smoking?
A: Two of my main reasons were finance and obviously for good health. One of my neighbours quit smoking before me and when he moved to the non-smoking spur, his achievement inspired me to do the same thing and on 31st May 2016 I had my last cigarette.
Q: Has the process and following move to the non smoking spur been difficult?
A: Moving off the smoking spur onto the non-smoking spur was a massive relief. I was finding it unpleasant being around smoke. Because I had so many reasons to quit, it gave me more motivation and so it wasn’t as hard as I initially thought.
Q: Do you regret the decision to quit or are you proud of your achievement?
A: The only thing I regret is having smoked in the first place and I am massively proud of myself for quitting because it’s another positive step in my personal development.
Q: Would you recommend it for others?
A: I would recommend it for everyone who smokes. It is difficult but if you already have the intention to give up, then you have already made the first step with a positive attitude. All you have to do is take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you. Support is out there. With will power and the relevant tools that are in place anyone can do it.
Just to re-cap. The Beacon is working towards an Enabling Environment award which is a quality improvement process aiming to support the development of healthy social environments . Evidence must be provided for 10 standards. These standards are;Belonging, Involvement, Boundaries, Structure, Safety , Openness, Communication, Development, Leadership and Empowerment. This issue will focus on Involvement
This standard requires that;
Some of the examples of evidence for this include our men taking up a variety of representative roles such as Activity/Weekend Rep. This role involves Organising games and activities for evening and weekends alongside staff members on shift and updating the community on the role within monthly community meetings.
Another great example is when , during the summer, two of our residents put a proposal forward for the community to watch a world cup match. This was agreed with staff and organised by the two residents including creating bunting for the muster area. The residents were given the afternoon off from programme and the opportunity to watch the match with both staff and residents.
One of our residents was receiving 1:1 guitar lessons from a member of staff. Sadly the staff member has moved on but that hasn’t deterred him,
“Being on the Beacon doesn't mean we’re cut off as I’ve recently joined the Garth prison band which is prison wide with a final group of 6 (more are possible) . I haven’t looked back since.”
At the Beacon there are a range of therapies on offer.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
This therapy helps you learn to manage your difficult emotions by letting yourself experience, recognise and accept them. This enables you to change difficult or harmful ways of coping with them.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
This is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are all connected. The way we think about situations can affect the way we feel and behave
This uses a range of drama and creative techniques to help people process difficult emotions. Our drama therapy group aims to support people to identify, explore and change different parts of themselves or ‘characters within us’, by ‘bringing these characters to life’. ‘Bringing a character to life’ can include drawing them, using figures or objects to represent them, and/or by acting as that character in session.
This focuses on early life experiences
which allows for more emotions to come to the surface and be experienced in the therapy room.
Cognitive Analytical Therapy
This involves looking at the way a person thinks, feels and acts together with events and relationships which are experienced from childhood.
We have recently started a card making project with the approval and funding assistance from our Governor . Starting with the Christmas season, members of the card making group and other residents have been working extremely hard designing and making Christmas cards and selling them to the wider prison. Any profit made will go towards charity and buying something for he Beacon community.
Think of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers
You’re not the nation’s followers
You plough your own field
Follow your own path
Think of your family and kin
From where you were to begin
The road’s full of potholes and grit
But the highway of your mind
Can be cleared of emotional sh*t
Honey from bees is very nice
As is friendship full of spice
Not NPS but genuine stuff
Where affection and love is enough
To fill your world with serenity
As you travel the path of mediocrity
So laugh and smile it’s not hard
You’ll find you might be a bard