Bedford Row is committed to ongoing training in Family Support and Crisis Intervention to give interested, enthusiastic and passionate people the skills necessary 1) to assist family members who experience the hurt of imprisonment, addiction and related factors, and 2) to assist parents – in particular young parents who may be from families that struggled with addiction and imprisonment in the past – to embrace their responsibilities and ‘break the cycle’.
First Course Sep 2009 to Jun 2011
The first Diploma in Family Support and Crisis Intervention was held from Sep 09 to Jun 11. We are most grateful to Limerick Regeneration Agencies, HSE West, and the RAPID Programme who believed in us to fund the initial training initiative. The first cohort of nine students graduated in Jul 2011. Three of these graduates now work in various capacities in Bedford Row, and others work in other Projects in Limerick City. As a direct result of this training our capacity to respond to families in distress has increased greatly.
Second Course Jun 2012 to May 2014
Such was the success of the First Course that we decided to put on a Second. The National Education and Training Fund, through ‘The Wheel’ , along with the Edmund Rice Fund, Franciscan Friars, and the Presentation Sisters funded this Course. Our methods were very affirmed by an Evaluation of the training delivered, available on our Evaluation link. This Evaluation was done by Prof Billy O’Connor of Medical Graduate School, University of Limerick, and focused on how modern developments in neuroscience are applied in Bedford Row training and general learning. We were very proud when ten students received their diplomas on 11 Oct 2014.
Third Course (Feb 2016 to Nov 2017)
Currently we have 15 students doing our Third Course. We began the Course at end of February with funding from Limerick City and County Council and The Ireland Funds. There will be a break during July and August and we will resume in September. (This Course is due to finish in November 2017).
Principal Elements (Brief Overview)
a. Emotional: The emotional elements of students’ experience are attended to so that graduates become confident and competent in dealing with the emotional dimension that, it is expected, will be an integral part of the day-to-day practice in the field.
b. Skills: Numerous skills are practiced constantly in order to equip graduates with the competences necessary to assist people to cope with unexpected situations, ease their distressing crises in life, and ultimately effect positive change. One of the most important skills is listening.
c. Community Leadership: Awareness of societal/ethical issues is very important for any practitioners who aspire to have a leadership role in the community of families affected by imprisonment. What might get in the way of a compassionate response is important. Decision making based on common sense, and how to be inclusive and still maintain healthy boundaries is included.
d. Models/Methodologies of Therapeutic Intervention: Many different methodologies and therapies which have developed over the years which need to be applied in different situations are covered. Knowledge of these will enhance client safety through considerations of choice of language and dialogue, uniqueness of each encounter.
e. Educational: Subjects such as child development, child protection in families where criminality is prevalent, ‘the role of shame in growth’ vs. ‘toxic shame’, development of conscience, attachment theory + other factors that affect normal development are all on the course.
f. Practical: Practical elements such as planning, report writing, security, and the link between good office procedures and boundaries are covered.
What is being achieved?
- Significant alleviation of distress in what is usually a very distressing time.
- Identification of difficult emotions such as guilt, shame and anger and utilisation of such emotions particularly anger in a positive way.
- Building of confidence and self esteem, a sense of hope, and an ability to cope.
- Very practical and direct support with issues such as inadequate housing, school placement, etc.
- Widening of horizons of parents to include an appreciation of what, in particular, children are experiencing.
- Increase in relationship building skills to form and maintain relationships that are significant and nurturing.
- Early assessment of needs so that appropriate and timely interventions can be offered in partner agencies if such are identified and appropriate.
- Inculcation of a sense of belonging in Bedford Row Family Project.
- Ongoing involvement in research and evaluation of how the Project is doing.
What Our Students Say
These quotes are part of the Evaluation on our Family Support and Crisis Intervention Course (click here
to read this Evaluation).
Five students are Bedford Row volunteers. The remainder work in various community based agencies in Limerick that have responsibility for meeting different needs of families of prisoners or ex-prisoners.
‘The Course is a completely new learning experience’
‘Learning requires and encourages engagement of the whole self’
‘Being ok about not being right and being honest and open about it’
‘The Course enables a new way of thinking’
‘This is like no other Course I have done and I look forward to it every week’
‘I have increased self-belief in my opinion’
‘Our humanity is our greatest tool in this work’
‘I am inspired by other Group members, their honesty, integrity, and life stories’
‘I express my feelings without fear of judgement and this is inclusive’
‘Being included has opened my eyes to those who are not’
‘Compassion is a signal of common humanity amongst all people’
‘The value of the elastic, dynamic type of learning is spectacular’
‘The potential of the whole is huge when everyone brings a part’
‘The entire Bedford Row experience is one of warmth and welcome and this is replicated on the Course’
‘When safe to learn it was a lot easier to retain more information than I ever would normally’
‘I would recommend this Course to anyone’
‘I have gained so much from this Course – mentally and physically’
‘I grew up in a world of addiction and imprisonment and the self-awareness on the Course enables me to use my journey to help others’
‘It’s a privilege to be part of a Group where people’s life experiences inspire and support others in self-discovery’
‘Courses like this should be accredited and properly funded because they offer a way of making a big difference to a person and family’s life’
Bedford Row Family Project believes that the best and most effective way to address the difficult issue of family involvement in crime and the inevitable subsequent involvement in imprisonment and all the distress that that entails is to facilitate responsible, compassionate, and caring people from the communities most affected by imprisonment to utilise their wisdom, insight, and strength to bring about long-term change in such families and ‘break the cycle’.
—– All training in the Project is designed to enable that long-term change —-
(If you wish to know more please contact the Project at firstname.lastname@example.org)