Author: Media Director/Tuesday, July 27, 2021/Categories: Past Programs
Speaker, Erica Forbes
Program: Guiding Rage Into Power (GRIP): Leaving Prison Before You Get Out
Erica Forbes is a clinical psychologist with the GRIP program (Guiding Rage Into Power).
https://grip-traininginstitute.org/ She works within the California prison system, facilitating healing and transformation in one of the darkest corners of human existence.
Erica will describe the GRIP curriculum, its impact, and share stories about being a woman facilitating a men’s program over the past four years. She’ll also provide an inside perspective of our correctional system and the institutionalized oppression/ racism that she encounters in her work.
An excerpt from a recent article by Erica:
Prisons are theoretically one of the darkest and most hopeless places we can imagine, yet when I went inside for the first time, I felt instantly at home, in the right place, in a powerful locus of change where darkness and hopelessness are met with light and. In the same instant, I was broken open by the reality of where I found myself.
Upon learning about their young lives (the inmates participating in the GRIP program) —nearly every single one was born into violence, addiction, abuse, gang life— I came to the realization that most of them didn’t stand a chance. Anyone born into these circumstances would find themselves with similarly few options or skills to navigate differently. That realization brought me to my knees. It changed me and left me forever in service to the incarcerated and their victims, the disenfranchised who have suffered so much trauma.
What happens in a day within our GRIP tribes is miraculous.
In the company of each other, they find the courage to be vulnerable, to lay down old beliefs and to share from deep places of guilt, shame and regret that has never before been brought into the light of day.
I recall a man saying to me one day, “How come nobody told me any of this before? I would’ve been a very different person had I known this information.” This is the brutal reality of structural violence: Being born into lives wherein your skin color, tax bracket or zip code often determine whether you have access to this type of learning or healing.
Erica Forbes is a clinical therapist and GRIP facilitator, working with various and diverse populations. The common thread guiding her path has been the yearning to be used well among those most in need and to create true, durable transformation.
Erica’s master’s degree focused on Somatic Psychology, the psychology of the body-mind connection. Over her life’s work as a therapist, facilitator, and teacher, she has navigated with an understanding that the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual body is intertwined; and that true healing depends on respecting the wisdom of this intrinsic relationship. Erica currently lives in the mountains of Colorado - commuting once a month to California State Prisons to do what she describes as “something I’ve been preparing for my whole life. It’s my calling.”
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