By Tetsuo Nakahara, USAG Japan Public Affairs February 23, 2012
CAMP ZAMA, Japan - A class that enhances the understanding of resiliency and promotes mental and emotional health in the workplace and daily life is now being offered at Camp Zama through the installation's Army Community Service organization.
The class was created as an offshoot of the Master Resiliency Training, which itself is a supplement to the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, established in 2008 to increase resilience and enhance performance in Soldiers, family members and civilians.
ACS representative offered a two-hour introductory overview of the Master Resiliency Training course here on Feb. 15 and 16. Attendees included Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from Zama American High School, and employees from the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center. Following the overview, those who were interested could sign up to attend the full 40-hour course.
"We decide to condense the MRT course into a two-hour review... because some people don't have 40 hours to take the whole course," said Hilary Valdez, an MRT trainer at ACS. "The class offers leadership skills, confidence, problem-solving skills and mental flexibility, character strengthening, and improving communication within an organization and within one's family."
The course is based on "Rational Emotive Therapy," developed in 1950 by Dr. Albert Elis, the intent being to improve one's approach to critical thinking, said Valdez.
"It is scientifically based, but we try to incorporate [the familial aspect] to humanize the information," said Valdez. "So we've got science, which is the RET therapy, and the students also learn the art of how to put it into practice in their private lives."
In the overview, most of the topics were covered utilizing an open-discussion format. Some of the psychological aspects that were touched on included how to avoid "thinking traps," developing energy management, and building mental toughness.
"Being positive is very important," said Valdez. "This course will help you take a look at who you are, what you are, and what makes you tick. [It] plants a seed of change so people can begin the process. These are principles you can practice every day. You will begin to slowly shift your life in a direction that leads to personal growth."
"It was a very good class because we deal with all types of people in our job," said Juliette Bates, the director of Nonappropriated Funds at CPAC. "It helps us to learn how to deal with people. We have to know ourselves in order to figure out how we want to interact with other people. The class helps you to see 'you,' but then also to see how other people are, plus perceive how people may see you."
The class is open to all community on the installation, including Soldiers, family members, civilians and Japanese employees.