Give Peace A Chance
Joseph Foderaro, a licensed clinical social worker, visited Penn State Brandywine on Sep. 21 to expand our knowledge on the power of establishing community, sanctuary, and a safe environment for healing.
Foderaro, who has been in the profession for over 30 years, began by explaining why it is depressing to ask someone who is struggling, “What is wrong with you?” He stated that by asking this question, we are unable to dig deep into the problems they are experiencing.
Foderaro explained that when we ask this question, it creates anger and frustration for the individual who is suffering.
He acknowledged that in order to induce long-term adaptations in the individual’s life, it is necessary to encourage them to share their life story instead of their manifestations. Foderaro demonstrated that by hearing their story, we will then be able to better understand the reasoning of their condition and behavior.
Foderaro also stated that we are still experiencing controversy among racism, poverty, and mental illness. He clarified that while talking to someone who has endured one of these social problems, it is important to lend an ear rather than us talking to them and defining the issue, they must analyze it for us.
He further justified that while treating a person who is mentally ill or who has dealt with discrimination, we must remember that it takes a great deal of courage and strength to discuss these topics.
Foderaro asked every attendee to participate in a community meeting exercise, in which everyone shared their feelings that day and their reason for attending. Many students and faculty came to this event to expand their knowledge on the sanctuary model and how it works.
“It’s interesting, I can apply it to my major, and my professors recommended it,” Christina Pentimall, a third year psychology student said.
Pentimall went on to further explain the importance of college students being exposed to the unexplored possibilities of peace and well-being for all of humanity. “Our generation will be shaping from this education, it is needed to make a difference to improve,” she said.
He suggested that the answer is not to just give them therapy and medication, we must let the people who are suffering know what is going on. Foderaro claims that if we continue to cause distress to them, then we are unable to help them heal from their past.
Foderaro states that many perceive anger as just a mental issue, when it is also a physical issue. He rendered that physical and emotional abuse at the beginning of a child’s life leads to their emotional system downgrading.
Foderaro condensed that as a result, they are forced to turn to self-harm in order to seek attention, and they begin abusing substances to uplift their moods.
Diana Dopheide, Lion’s Eye Staff Writer