Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rikers Island Graduation 5

PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO CHANGE SOCIETY. REHABILITATION IN JAIL IS NEEDED! THIS WAS WRITTEN FOR ANOTHER GRADUATE OF THE DBT PROGRAM! When we first started working in the groups, I saw a stern individual who did not seem to want to change or develop their thinking. One not changing their thinking is not always the worst thing, however, in our case; we had to figure out a way of thinking that did not validate punching someone in the mouth. This was a challenge for us all, I have to admit. Unlike some individuals who felt like pursuing a train of thought that would not allow and justify an assault, you gave this new concept a chance. Instead of trying to humiliate the process or the proctors of this program, you gave us a chance. I must admit that I did not expect that you would be one of the people to work with the program. I will admit my ignorance by realizing that I felt that you would be one of the individuals who would not lock out for group or splash or flood. I love being wrong. It is my belief that you are yet another example of why DBT works. Not only were you not a person that could not or would not involve themselves with the program, you became a virtual scholar of the program and the program’s logic. I have to say that I am impressed with your knowledge of the material. This knowledge demonstrated to me during rounds as you would explain situations that enabled you to utilize your DBT skills. I knew that you were genuine in your discussions of the DBT skills that you had learned, as you would explain the situations that these skills were applied. Not once have you yelled obscenities at me or any other staff member. You could have been easily persuaded to as other people housed next to you have behaved in such a manner. This for me is an example of your ability to think independently. For me, your behavior exemplifies leadership. Instead of following a path of self destruction by behaving in an intolerable manner, you chose to compose yourself with dignity and respect. As the weeks and the months dragged on and our conversations about the usefulness of the DBT program progressed, it became clear that you were not interested in repeating the same behavior that created your circumstances. I began to understand that you realized that it is important not to follow people down the wrong path in life. For me, it seemed that you could understand how problems developed as a result of who you identified with in life. Our conversations focused on how anti-social behavior was a menace as well as embarrassing. It is my belief that you have the potential to develop your thinking. It seems as though you have chosen the pro-social DBT skills over the anti-social behavior of some of your peers. It appears further that through the study of these skills, you have been able to open your mind to a completely new and more intricate understanding of opportunities that exist for you. Stay the course of success by choosing skills over anti-social behavior. Only you can create your ambitions. Only you know what you can do. It is not enough for me or us to believe in you, you must believe in yourself. Let DBT be the key to your uninhibited brilliance and unlock the door to your success. Congratulations on completing the DBT program and Good Luck

Rikers Island Graduation 4

THE WORK CONTINUES! THIS WAS WRITTEN FOR ONE OF OUR GRADUATES! When we first met, you spoke to me about your life in a way that exhibited the despair that you felt about the circumstances that you confronted. There was nothing positive that you had to say about your future. You were disgruntled. However, I felt then, as I feel now, that there is great possibility for your success. Being incarcerated is a debilitating experience as it sets us back in our lives. It was my fear that you would succumb to the feelings of despair which accompany incarceration. I Know I speak on behalf of the leaders of this DBT program when I say that we don’t want or need your business. That is to say, we do not hope to see you back in jail. We do hope to gain your business through your freedom. You are worth more to us as a functioning member of society than as an inmate in an orange jumpsuit chained to a wall. I would much rather work with you on DBT skills while in the community than in prison. I would much rather focus on helping you gain a higher level of function while you study acting in Julliard. Though I don’t mind and I have worked hard to have the ability to work with people who are in this situation, facing criminal conviction, it is my belief that you can achieve more. It is my belief that your ability to advance far beyond what incarceration has to offer us is in inherent in our human DNA. If I didn’t believe this, I would have chosen a different profession. I can’t speculate on what it is about this skills program that has changed your conversation from one of a young man who is hopeless to a young man that is hopeful with dreams of studying acting. Could it be DEAR MAN? Could it be skills in interpersonal effectiveness? Or could it be finding the middle path and validation techniques? Perhaps we will never know? Or perhaps it was all of these skills working to bring about a higher more conscious pro-social level of future oriented thinking. There is one thing that I am confident in however and that is that before coming to this program, you never entertained life beyond prison in a way that led to your happiness. How we process what we experience in life is the most important mechanism gifted to us. How do we process incarceration? How do we process the behavior that brought us to jail? A normal person may become embittered and hopeless feeling over whelmed. The constant court appearances, the constant probation requirements that never seem to end and the years that they linger can create a dysfunction in thinking that can break anyone rich, poor, educated or uneducated. The criminal justice system is perhaps one of the most mentally challenging systems any one will ever experience. To be taken from the community, forbidden to work or be educated or be with your friends and family is the most mentally debilitating experience for any creature on earth to survive. It is not a system or experience that is meant to create growth, yet that is exactly what you have done. I can’t say that you would have made this growth only through the dialogue and discussions that you and I have shared. I don’t know that these discussions alone would have been enough to break the deep depression you have felt. However, since our discussions have focused on the skills that the DBT program has offered, I have seen your depression and despair lift. I have seen future oriented thinking develop. I believe we are on the right track. Congratulations and Good Luck!


This was written for one of our graduates from the DBT program! DBT is designed to help people control actions that result from feelings that are oftentimes overwhelming. It is my hope that your ambitions will surpass any distractions that have inhibited you thus far. Finding the middle path and other DBT skills extend beyond the scope of basic relationships. Though this is true, I am firm in my belief that when you use these DBT skills as we have discussed them in our groups, you will be able to nurture your ambitions and thus bear the fruits of success. Frustration often leads to hopelessness. However, it is our hope that when confronted by the feelings of hopelessness or frustration, the skills you’ve learned with us will reassure you that your purpose in life is greater than the conflicts and struggles you face. Congratulations and good luck!

Rikers Island Graduation 2

This was written for one of the graduations from our Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Program. PROGRESS IS BEING MADE IN RIKERS ISLAND! It is safe to say that you have faced the consequences of your actions with dignity. You have not complained or acted out. You have not held the slot or splashed or used profanity. The irony of course is that though you behave well, you have not had to compromise your character. That is to say that you are not being ridiculed for being a composed individual. I know that for many people in this program, there is a fear that by learning the DBT skills a loss of strength will follow. I believe that it is safe to say that you put this myth to rest. The behavior you demonstrate proves that being dialectical does not at all make a person weak or naïve. In fact, using your wise mind has made you stronger. This fact is represented not only in your ability to complete this program but also in your ability to have others respect your resolve for self discipline and control. Congratulations and good luck!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Vx=Vcos0; That's fast!

Vx=Vcos0 This equation is used to define a specific speed of an object traveling at a specific angle. So,for example, if you wanted to know the speed of a ball traveling in the "X" direction, you would be able to by accounting for the velocity (speed) multiplied by the cosine (degree of the angle). This information is useful for many reasons. I can understand how this speed would be important when trying to figure the speed needed for a rocket ship to leave earth's atmosphere. This simple equation could help identify how fast a ship would need to go in order to leave earth's atmosphere. Also, this equation could help to understand the quickest route to a destination. I tried to understand this physics problem from a unique perspective. I have to try to imagine what new angle could be used to help me utilize this equation. The result that I have concluded based on the calculation is applicable to travel as well. When we think about the quickest route to space, we think of a rocket ship shooting straight up to the sky. The velocity is assumed from the "Y" axis. The Y axis is a linear north/south direction the rocket ship travels. Since we are on planet earth, I have to understand that due to the curvature of the earth, our perception of travel to space, or air, is something that can be understood differently. Were it possible to take a linear path accross the surface of the earth, at say five feet off the ground, eventually we would head straight out to space. This being the case, if we were to try and understand how to get to a specific point in space from earth, understanding Vx=Vcos0 could become useful. Trying to find the speed of the rocket ship traveling along the "X" axis, we may be able to find that the quickest way to space is following a path along the X axis. For example, if you were to travel at 89 meters per second (198 mph) at an angle of 90 degrees, your speed would not change. However, as the angle changes to say fifty degrees, the speed slows. The angle slows. In fact, the speed of the rocket ship would be less until you reached a cosine of 2 degrees, at this point the speed would be equal to the 90 degree angle. Therefore, traveling straight accross the x axis is just as quick to get into outer space than if you were to take a 90 degree ascent into the heavens. Does this mean that regardless of how high off the ground you traveled, knowing the earth is round,would you be able to reach space as quickly if you traveled across the X axis? This of course is a questionable theory as the 90 degree angle to space is only 62 miles while taking the route on the X axis would take many more miles to reach space as the horizon is more than 62 miles. Though the 90 degree angle still seems like the quickest route, what if you were trying to reach a specific area in space? What if the area in space was more easily accesable taking a linear direction. Is it possible that an area in space is accessible more quickly following the X axis? Of course it is possible. Simply because you are traveling along the X axis, doesn't mean that you can't be, say, 1000 feet in the air. For that matter, it is not to say that you can not be 2 inches in the air from the surface of the earth. However, since the destination in space from earth, the curvature of the earth and your proximity is important. If you were 20 miles from the horizon or curvature of the earth, would you get to space quicker traveling on the X axis, rather than at any other angle, including a 90 degre angle? Not necessarily because this equation accounts for speed and not the time it would take to arrive at your destination. What this means is that your speed would be the same at the 90 degree angle as it would be at the 2 degree angle when determing how fast the object travels on the X axis. In other words, flat and verticle are the same in terms of speed. Although this is true, lets just say that the space ship leaving from the north pole wanted to get to a destination in space that is 90 degrees away on the X axis. It may be quicker to leave earth to that destination traveling along the X axis if the X axis is on that 90 degree angle that the space ship needs to reach. Though we would have to account for speed of the craft in outer space possibly being able to reach that place quicker, the fact is that spacially, this would be a quicker and more direct route on the X axis rather than the Y axis. That is to say, traveling at say a couple miles from the horizon to outer space on the X axis is closer in this case. In this scenario, it would take 64 miles to reach space rather than 62 miles. However, since the destination in space is closer, in this case on the X axis, would be faster. You would still be closer to space were you to take a 90 degree ascent into the sky say at three miles further up the path from the equater. This is because in this case, again, the rocket ship is traveling straight and would be at a 90 degree angle from the point in space to be arrived. However, once in space a control for this 90 degree angle would have to be taken. In essence, the only consideration that would be needed is to ascertain whether the 90 degree angle added up to more than the distance to the horizon plus 62 miles.