The Heart and Soul Academy
The Heart and Soul Academy for Body Focused Repetitive Behaviours (BFRBs), based in Colorado, USA, was founded in 2013 by Christina Pearson, founder of the Trichotillomania Learning Centre (TLC). Christina herself was a sufferer of both hair pulling and skin picking disorder from a very young age, and she found that there were little or no resources for sufferers of BFRBs. She formed the Heart and Soul Academy, a non-profit organization, as a direct response to a growing community need for people suffering from BFRBs. Christina is involved in serving the community and has devoted her life to raising public awareness and developing resources that aid in reducing the suffering of those afflicted with Trichotillomania and other obsessive compulsive disorders. In addition to founding the organization, Christina lectures and does media presentations on BFRB’s.
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What do they do?
The primary goal of the Heart and Soul Academy is to provide ongoing interactive courses teaching strategies, techniques and useful living skills to individuals of all ages living with BFRBs. The courses presented by the Academy helps sufferers discover how every-day living skill can help reduce unwanted behaviours like hair pulling. The Academy delivers online interactive video classes and hosts live events such as the Annual BFRB Retreat to teach people suffering from these disorders effective, useful skills, concepts and approaches to life and lifestyle issues involved in living with, recovering from and maintaining success with skin picking and hair pulling disorders.The Annual Retreat offered by the Academy offers sufferers of trich and skin picking disorders a special opportunity to interact with BFRB treatment providers and workshop facilitators from around the world. It also allows them time to spend with those suffering from similar issues. The Retreat is set in a natural, rustic environment which affords an opportunity to step away from regular surroundings and patterns, and reconnect with nature.
The main goal of the Retreat is to improve sufferer’s moment to moment experiences of living with and healing from chronic body focused behaviours. The workshops offered during the Retreat are based on contemplation, introspection and mindfulness meditation. “Transformation can occur as a result of exposure to new experiences, others with recovery and accurate information.” The workshops also address the individual’s fears of them being alone in their need to pick or pull. They gain insight into the actual disorder and interact with others suffering from the same issue. Another primary aim of the Retreat is to re-ignite hope and discover new or different pathways to wholeness and recovery. The Academy also offers smaller retreats for teens only, whereby adolescents are not restricted and can openly interact with other teens suffering from similar disorders.
Where there is a need they will grow
The Heart and Soul Academy has plans to develop other classes and courses for a wide variety of problems from the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder spectrum. Although still in its early stages, the Academy is becoming more popular as a growing number of individuals suffering from Body Focused Repetitive Behaviours are looking for ways to reduce their suffering.