Finding Connection When Realities Don’t Match

In this 60-min session we will explore the common challenges providers face when supporting people who see, hear, and otherwise experience things that others around them do not. Tasked with time-sensitive concrete requirements, such as completing an eligibility assessment or person-centered recovery plan (PCRP), professionals may struggle to meet the needs of the behavioral health system while also prioritizing the more immediate and subjective needs of the human being in front of them. Join Amy and Amanda as they share from both their relevant personal and professional experience regarding this challenge and highlight ideas for staying connected with yourself and the people you support. Although the session is brief, attendees can expect story-telling, short examples, and a few take-home resources. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe two actions that promote trust and partnership during a mental health distress, 
  2. Name two behaviors professionals should avoid that can damage the relationship with people who are hearing and seeing things that others do not, and 
  3. Identify an approach that simultaneously balances the needs of the person and the system. 


About the Presenters:

Amanda Bowman, LCSW-S, PSS (she/her) is a clinical social worker, certified peer specialist supervisor, and WRAP facilitator, using her professional and lived experience with mental health challenges to promote person-centered practices in behavioral health care. Coming from direct social work practice and administrative leadership within the public mental health system, she joined Via Hope in 2013, where she served as Recovery Institute Director until 2023. In this role, she oversaw the development and delivery of organizational change programs, which included statewide initiatives to support the implementation of person-centered planning, peer support services, and trauma-responsive work environments. Now the owner of Sidecar Consulting, Amanda uses her passion for participatory learning methods to facilitate collaborative learning events and serves as a subject matter expert for programs designed to support change within and across agencies. She has called Austin home since 2000 when she moved from Louisiana to obtain a Master’s degree at UT. Outside of work, you may find Amanda with her family hiking the Barton Creek Greenbelt or enjoying live music.

Amy Pierce (she/her) has been working in the Peer Movement in the State of Texas for almost two decades. She currently serves as Recovery Institute Associate Manager at Via Hope by serving as a subject matter expert on the implementation of peer services and  other recovery-oriented practices. She has extensive experience in the peer support sector, having started the first peer support program in the state hospitals in Texas, implementing peer support programs in the community as well as the Program Coordinator for a transitional peer residential housing project.   Prior to Via Hope, she was the CEO of Resiliency Unleashed, an international training and consulting company. Amy is a peer, and family member, with both mental health and addictions experience. Amy was previously Chair of the PAIMI Council in Texas and currently serves on the Disability Rights Texas Board of Directors.

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