Rony Berger – Call to Care Programme

compassionThis blog is an inspirational insight into the powerful possibilities compassion can bring.  It is a piece from Rony Berger, Senior Clinical Psychologist, speaking about the Call to Care Programme.  This shows us the true power of compassionate initiatives even in the most hostile of environments.  We can absolutely do this in Ireland too.  A deep heartfelt thanks to Rony for letting me share this and supporting the movement for compassionate wisdom to enter into the Education System in Ireland.

Here is what Rony shares:

Call to Care is the one (programme) most in line with CFT as it is focuses on cultivating compassion via all the modalities that the CFT model suggests..

Having said that, I am not saying that our model is better or more effective than the others. I am sure the other models are very useful too.

However there are few unique features to our program (Call To Care-Israel or C2C-I) including:

1)  The primary focus of our program is on cultivating compassion with the teachers (i.e. on receiving compassion and giving self-compassion) and only then shifts to focus on extending compassion by the teachers to their pupils. We do not work with the students directly as we are interested in the schools’ (teachers) capacity building.

2) We involve the parents (this we feel is  essential ) by eliciting their cooperation with the children via a lecture, information sent home, parent-child workshop in the school, and most importantly, pupils’ booklets with home assignments (many of the practices and exercises they are doing with family members).

3) Given that we are in Israel, a country that has been involved in protracted violent conflict, our program also aims to promote tolerance and accepting of the “other” (which might be perfect for Ireland even these days).

We have done an extensive research with both teachers and pupils and we are continuing the research.  We wrote four peer-reviewed articles: one has just been accepted  yesterday, another has been revised and will be accepted in few weeks, and two are currently in review. Our results are truly stunning.

However, I must tell you that from my perspective, the most important parts of the results are:

The change in stereotyping and prejudices among Jewish pupils of Arabs as well as their willingness to sacrifice their precious time to give to the poor. 

In addition, we also designed a different school-based prejudice-reduction program where we included contact as well as CFT features (mindfulness & compassion activities) and evaluated its efficacy. As you can see in the attached article, the results are very promising and also durable in 15 month follow-up! despite the hostilities in the Middle East. This approach will also be appropriate in a post-conflict era like in Ireland or South Africa. In fact, we will be soon implementing this program in German schools that accepted the Syrian refugees.

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