I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge - myth is more potent than history - dreams are more powerful than facts - hope always triumphs over experience - laughter is the cure for grief - love is stronger than death.
Colorado ranks 6th nationally for completed suicides with 16.7 per 100,00 people. Governor Hickenlooper discussed these concerning numbers in his 2016 State of the State address where he cited the state losing 1,058 people to suicide in 2014.
Paul-André has more than 25 years of first hand experience regarding how particularly vulnerable our youth are and how to effectively intervene in times of crisis. His knowledge-base combined with his unique experience enable him to holistically comprehend the developmental cycle and understand how to address and support youth as they move through difficult times.
He has established evidenced-based techniques utilizing Gestalt, mindfulness, and radical-acceptance, combined with the full array of behavioral therapies (Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)) to create distinctive and exceptional interventions that build resilience.
While some adults understandably fear that youth discussing the realities of suicide in a group could increase the numbers of attempted and completed suicides, research continues to support the fact that silence = death. In an April 8, 2016 article in Medscape Psychiatry titled, Direct Interventions Effective for Suicide Prevention, Dr. Esther L. Meerwijk from the University of California, San Francisco, reports that talking about suicidal thoughts and behaviors in therapy reduces risk and builds protective factors. Dr. Meerwijk states that when people discuss their presenting symptomology, it "reduces the likelihood that people will die by suicide or attempt suicide, and that it is not enough to only treat depression or other underlying conditions associated with increased risk of suicide."
The power of group therapy lies in the unique opportunity to receive multiple perspectives, support, encouragement and feedback from others in a safe and confidential environment. These interpersonal interactions provide group members an opportunity to deepen their level of self-awareness and learn how they relate to others. Group therapy can be a safe and supportive place to experiment with new ideas and ways of being. Paul-André believes that when clients are suffering from depression, it’s crucial to give them tools that can help them build resilience.
While simultaneously acknowledging and honoring that suicide is a choice, Paul-André believes it is possible to considerably reduce Colorado's total number of completed suicides and suicidal attempts. His time-tested experience with children, particularly teens, where LGBTQ youth accounted for 63 of those total 1,058 deaths, may be of interest to school districts and other community-based organizations working with youth. We encourage you to contact Paul-André to explore collaboration.
Paul-André brings his decades of experience with youth, education, and mental health in creating and facilitating a series of six process and psycho-educational suicide prevention, intervention, and recovery groups for adolescents. Groups align with the State's Public Health interventions, are designed to be part of a continuum of services, and not meant to be a sole intervention. Groups begin with screening, a mental status evaluation to determine risk and a family session to review MSE results and target at-home interventions. Families are taught how to gauge current and future risk and more importantly, establish communication techniques designed to de-escalate high stress situations and increase safety.
While each group is grounded in group therapeutic dynamics they also contain an aspect of psycho-education designed to build coping skills and overall resilience. Paul-André makes use of his decades of classroom experience to effectively and effeciently disseminate psycho-educational topics to include, 'What does SAFE-T look, smell, hear, and feel like?; The power of insight and judgment; Emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills; Mindfulness-based stress reduction; Resourcing and more. Paul-André also brings with him intimate knowledge of mindfulness as a solution for despair and hopelessness. Join him in making a difference by contacting him should you have a young person of concern.