Headington Institute Spring eNewsletter
Kurdistan Team Debrief Report
Don Bosch

Photo by Heike Hänsel - IDP camp in Iraq

In January, two of our senior psychologists, Linda Wagener and Brent Stenberg, traveled to Cyprus to lead a debrief for a rapid response team deployed to the Kurdistan region of Iraq. 'Debriefs' are typically viewed as necessary when a critical incident has occurred and individuals need to be screened and helped with trauma recovery. Even though operating within 20 miles of ISIS controlled territory, this deployment did not experience any critical incidents, fortunately.

While this 'treatment' view of debriefing is still useful, Headington has expanded the role and scope of debriefing to include personal resilience and team dynamics as essential factors to evaluate after any significant deployment. Our research has indicated that difficult team dynamics may be the most damaging stressor to individual well-being and functioning.  

With this in mind, we utilize an assessment that analyzes individual and team work place personality factors as a way to help team members better understand each other. While this involves a degree of vulnerability for all involved, we have found this to be well received and quite useful. Based on feedback from the Cyprus debrief, we are now considering ways to inform teams before they deploy of these work place personality tendencies, in an effort to improve collaboration and minimize conflict.  

In addition to a rigorous training schedule, Brent and Linda had many individual conversations with various team members – some scheduled and confidential, others more informal during breaks, over a meal, or while walking about in the evenings.

This is an amazing team, doing good work in the midst of such complex and challenging demands. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to provide staff care through facilitating this debrief.

Serving on the Headington Board - Dr. Winston Gooden
In January 2015, we said farewell to Winston Gooden as a Board member. Yet, this is not a final goodbye, as he will shortly join our team of psychologists as a Clinical Associate. Here are his reflections on serving as a Headington Board member:

I am grateful to Jim for inviting me to join the Board of the Headington Institute. By saying yes, I joined a team—much like a family—that strengthens persons who put themselves in harms way to help victims of disasters. Helping in times of crisis is emotionally expensive, and serving on the Institute’s Board has shown me the full measure of that cost and the need for preparatory and restorative steps to keep helpers well. I was glad to be part of a Board that embraces the people on the front lines to free them to handle the tough stuff.

On a Headington sponsored trip to Haiti with Rick shortly after the massive earthquake, I was drawn to the laughter of children kicking a misshapen old soccer ball around the small spaces in a camp of plastic tents that sheltered homeless families. Many of the children, we later learned, were separated from parents in the chaos of the disaster and had little hope of reuniting with family. The worker who told this tale wanted tools to help him handle the pain of the kids. The Institute was a resource for him as he shared his agony and explored ways to help the grieving children.

I am pleased to be a part of this work of hope.

- Dr. Winston Gooden, Former Dean of the Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary


From the President

The Institute lost a good friend this month, and I said goodbye to my beloved father-in-law, Jon Laidig, who died of natural causes at age 87. Since the founding of the Institute, Jon generously shared his time, expertise, and money to support our work. He respected our mission and enjoyed meeting with our board and staff.  As an entrepreneur, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist, he retained the wisdom and humility of growing up on a farm in Indiana. Many times over the past 15 years, I turned to him for perspective and guidance. It will be hard to go on without him. But, I will remember all that he taught me. He proved that investing in the lives of others brings lasting satisfaction and happiness. His enthusiastic support of the Institute gave us an up-close look at a truly successful life, and we are better for it. - Jim


Welcoming LuAnn and Jock

We’re pleased to have LuAnn Yocky and Jock Ebner join  the Headington Board this year. LuAnn is the former Senior National Director of Transformational Engagement with World Vision, USA. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon. Jock is serving as the President of Morlin Asset Management in Los Angeles and has been a part of the Headington Business Advisory Council for the past year. We’re excited about their involvement on the Board and look forward to how they help us work toward our mission and goals.  Welcome LuAnn and Jock!


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