Community Activated Medicine™
What is CAM™?
Community Activated Medicine™, abbreviated to "CAM™", was coined and developed by our CEO, Founder, and Clinical Director Lea S. Denny. It was started to support collective grieving for collective healing. Within the communities that Denny walked in she saw historical trauma manifested in generations of disenfranchised and complex grief. Using practice-based medicine she saw immediate results with gathering community members together to create a space where we can collectively grieve. Informed by cultural and ancestral knowledge she created connections with land, people, stories, and food as a way of healing.
CAM™ is where cultural healing ways, community activism, transformative justice, radical healing and liberation intersect to create action-oriented wellness; it is where the people are the medicine. This approach has two parts, to inform the community and providers and to activate their action on how to be part of the process in addressing the healing needs for communities and creating change for the generations of our past, present, and future.
CAM™ is both a noun and verb; it is a process for mending social fabric through healing connections and the process of activating these community-informed spaces. It is where we protect and share our sacred healing traditions in collaboration with inclusive mental health ways to support the healing of the one's mind, body, heart, and spirit for the community, and the greater global plane. A CAM™ Informed practice is a framework that focuses on healing historical trauma/loss as transgenerational trauma/loss through utilizing an Intergenerational Healing Approach™ and embodying a decolonizing mental health and wellness practice.
UPCOMING CAM™ EVENTS
Your Guardians for Your Circle of Care™
Our CEO, Founder, and Clinical Director Lea S. Denny developed the Intergenerational Healing Approach™ (IHA) to address and heal historical trauma through community mental health and wellness centered services and programming. Out of this work she developed an approach to decolonize mental health pedagogy and practices which she then used to build the HIR Wellness Institute. Denny pioneered an organization structured as a network utilizing Indigenous tolls such as shared leadership, matriarchal governance, and teachings of The Children’s Fire. As her work and the organization grew so did concepts and practices that became her CAM Framework™.
Part of CAM™ is leaning into the people around you that you consider safe, loving, joyful, and protective. As we navigate our healing journey, we come across people who touch our lives in a positive way. Sometimes it is our parents, caregivers, grandparents, friends, aunties, cousins, teachers, coaches, or a local librarian. Our guardians are those who helped us feel seen and heard. They are the people we are able to connect to within the community when we need advice, or someone to talk with when we are feeling a little down. Take some time to think about who those special people are in your life. Identify your guardians to create a Circle of Care™!
CAMPsites™ are our "offices" in the community or what we refer to as "Mental Health without Borders" approach. Learn more about how we bring Community Activated Medicine™ to our communities and spaces using CAMPsites™ (Community Activated Medicine Place™). Here our community healers Xavier and Malia demonstrate CAM™ skills, tools found in our healing kits and how neuroscience and ancestral teachings/knowledge can inform and empower each other to activate the healing medicines within to further healing within our relatives and ourselves.
Healing Intergenerational Roots – Meaningful Attunement Processing Skills
Developed out of our CAM Framework™ is leaning into those things throughout your life that bring you joy. At HIR Wellness Institute we teach how to build your own wellness kits to continue your healing journey, some of those found in our practices include the following.
In 2016, the concept of "Healing Passport™" was coined and developed by our CEO & Clinical Director, Lea S. Denny. While working with relatives (clients) in therapy she noticed the emotional difficulty relatives had to starting or ending counseling with a therapist. The concerns she saw in relatives were around how to start sharing about their story with someone who was there to work with them for a short period of time or having to retell their story "again".
These feelings of always "retelling" their story with little gain or progress was informing a change. Denny realized that what was needed was a paradigm shift on how relatives (and the public) understood the role of a therapist and therapy in their life.
To support this mindset Denny began started sharing the concept of “No matter how much time you have together in a session, relatives are moving forward because they are making the decision to be on a healing journey. The therapeutic relationship between relative and therapist is one stop in what is a larger path of healing experiences. In the CAM™ process it’s important to remember that “people are the medicine”, there will be other people who will help inform your healing and relational wellbeing. Therapy is another “stamp” on a healing passport.”
This concept grew with Denny as she developed this teaching further to include the use of Medicine Kits™ (described below) as she supported relatives to building a therapeutic web of care; (a concept she bridged from her training with the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) a social & neurobiological informed approach developed by Dr. Bruce Perry), a framework that provides a multi-systemic perspective on how to heal from complex & developmental trauma.
As we navigate our healing journey we come across different ways that fill up our mind, heart, body, and spirit. Remembering and recording these ways of being can become examples of what we can add to our medicine kit: reading, smudge, drinking water, music, laughter, playing outside, coloring, or taking a walk. Adding to our medicine kit is one way to intentional make joyful choices that can help us find balance when we are feeling a bit out of sorts. We encourage you to take some time today to reflect on what those items are that you want to add to your medicine kit.
Developed by Lea S. Denny in 2021 the CAM Workbooks™ are mental health focused, activity based, interactive, creative, and colorful. These workbooks are aimed at better relational health using the building blocks of Triple Attunement™. Denny tailored each book to age groups to better communicate using familiar language and imagery. All books include skill based exercises on learning about core CAM™ concepts, bettering an understanding of self, creating common language in community, and fostering cultural humility.
"Healing is a journey and not a destination"
- Lea S. Denny
CEO, Founder, and Clinical Director
of the HIR Wellness Institute
CAM™ in Virtual Programs
See Community Activated Medicine™ at work in our virtual spaces with this excerpt from Reflections and Resilience. This is a live virtual Circle of Care™ held Monday-Friday at 8 AM CST on the HIR Wellness Institute Facebook page. Here we see Malia welcome our relatives, begin the Circle of Care™ with igniting the fire within smudging, and inform our relatives about CAM™ and the Healing Informed Practices™.
Students Feedback When Learning About CAM™
“I was given the opportunity to sit with my discomfort, know what it means to be uncomfortable and realize the impact that it has on myself. Understanding my own biases and how I will always hold onto some bias. However, to have practice of being aware of it, holding space for it, and being in the practice of not letting the bias have impact on the work that I do.
“Through the masterclass, I have learned so much, clinically, socially, systematically, etc. I have understood the impact of words, of actions, and of intent. I have been able to see more clearly and have allowed myself to heal. Through my healing I have allowed myself to be vulnerable with my shame and to allow myself to heal through it. It is a safe space where we can self-discover and reflect which consequently leads to healing not only for one but for all. The Masterclass is a way to help heal the healers and to teach the healers more than what they have learned in the classroom about people and about what it means to heal.”
- Odessa Peters, Counseling Intern 2020-2021