feat. Billie Jo Weyant | Billie Jo Weyant, Executive Director of CAPSEA, talks about how the pandemic has stretched her agency’s resources and the opportunity within this reality to tell its heroic story of helping victims live a safe and healthy life.


In this episode of On Crisis, Joanna Doven is joined by Billie Jo Weyant, the Executive Director of CAPSEAa non-profit victim service agency located in one of the most rural parts of America — Pennsylvania’s mountain country. A recent Time report calls domestic abuse within the larger pandemic the “shadow pandemic”. Backed by data, Jeffrey Kluger’s reporting points out that U.S. police departments are reporting increases in domestic abuse calls in the double-digits. Billie Jo and Joanna talk about the strain the COVID-19 pandemic has put on CAPSEA’s resources. Since the start of the pandemic, CAPSEA’s small but mighty staff, led by Billie Jo, has been pummeled with steep surges in crisis calls, shelter placement needs and trauma therapy. 

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Speaker 1 (00:07):

I’m Joanna Doven. This is “On Crisis”, bringing together PR experts, thought leaders, creatives, and CEOs here to start conversations and connect people with real life stories and crisis communications.

Speaker 2 (00:20):

Imagine being locked down during the pandemic, and it’s been over a year now with somebody who is abusing you or abusing your children. These days you can get by without ever leaving your home, which is a nightmare for victims, battling domestic abuse or sexual assault. A recent Time report calls domestic abuse within the larger pandemic, the shadow pandemic backed by data. The reporting points out that us police departments are reporting increases in domestic abuse calls in the double digits. Only one, the lockdown restrictions lift with the full scope of its impact on in-home violence. Be known this week, we’re celebrating international women’s day and shining the light on a nonprofit and victim service agency. And one of the most rural parts of America Pennsylvania’s mountain country called CAPSEA it’s small, but mighty staff led by Billie Jo Weyant has been pummeled with steep surges and crisis calls, shelter, placement needs, and trauma therapy as mostly women and children battle domestic abuse and sexual assault founded.

Speaker 2 (01:24):

40 years ago, we talk with Billie Jo about how the pandemic has stretched her agency’s resources and how this could be an opportunity to tell their heroic story of helping victims live a safe and healthy life. I was really excited to hear about a program that they brought to their service agency called TIR or trauma incident reduction therapy. It’s a very progressive way to work with victims to not only help them through things like the PFA process, you know, the bandaid things, getting them safe, shelter, helping them through through copious paperwork. It’s after you deal with the, the biggest crises within a victim’s experiencing that you then work with the victim and counsel them through their trauma. You actually have them talk about what happened to them and, you know, really relive it work through those moments. You know, it’s, it’s kind of analogous to, if you’re feeling an emotion you can imagine that emotion, you know, is a tunnel.

Speaker 2 (02:31):

And in order to get through the emotion, you have to pass through the tunnel and go into the light. But if you stay in that tunnel with the emotion that’s when things like PTSD kick in and drug abuse and mental health issues kick in because you know, all of us are carrying trauma around in ourselves and it’s manifesting in some way to hear how this agency, which for many people is in the middle of nowhere is doing something so progressive gives me a lot of hope. And I’m really excited for you guys too, to hear this

Speaker 1 (03:07):

Ability to wine. I’m so excited, excited to have you on, on prices today. Because we’re taking a shift with this episode and getting pretty real the COVID-19 crisis has impacted everyone, but can you imagine being a single mom in a household with domestic abuser and you’re on lockdown and your kids are on lockdown and your family is avoiding everyone because they’re on lockdown. What do you do? Where do you go? Where do you turn? So Billie Jo runs CAPSEA which is an organization that helps victims of domestic abuse and a lot, a lot more, which we’ll talk about soon. In one of the most rural areas, really United States this happens to be a rural to rural counties out in Cameron County, in the middle of Pennsylvania. And the organization is actually doing things to help victims. That is unique nationally. We’re gonna talk about that today. So Billie Jo, thanks for coming on today.

Speaker 3 (04:26):

Hey, thank you for having me. I am so excited.

Speaker 1 (04:29):

Awesome. Awesome. So let’s just tell our audience what, you know, how long have you been doing running this organization? I mean, how many people you serve and the top three things you do to help victims?

Speaker 3 (04:44):

Well, first of all, I want to let everybody know that we hail out of Elk and Cameron counties in Pennsylvania. And we have the largest elk herd East of the Mississippi or West of the Mississippi. It’s crazy. So we have we have a lot of you know, we are extremely rural. I’ve been with CAPSEA for 31 years. I started out as their prevention education coordinator part-time and worked my way through the ranks. And I ended up becoming the executive director in 1994 and I’ve held that position ever since. And when I started, it was two years after the small emergency shelter was opened and all we provided services to, and I don’t want to say all, but we provided services to victims of domestic violence. And over the years, we have grown that to become a comprehensive victim service center that provides an array of services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, also serious crime victims.

Speaker 3 (05:50):

And we do another service that we, you and I are going to talk more about traumatic incident reduction, which is just something that has taken off and it is helping so many people. So I’ve been here a very, very long time. The top three things that CAPSEA provides to people, first of all, that 24 hour hotline that is critical, critical. It’s a lifeline for people to get that initial crisis intervention and that initial help. And if they need the police, we can help with all of that. The second thing is knowing that we are here for services that are very, very confidential and also free of charge. It doesn’t matter what your income level is. You’re going to get free confidential services here at CAPSEA. I also think that number three is, and it’s hard to put them in like a one, two and three order, but also the availability of a safe place for somebody to stay, even if it’s a short period of time, until they’re able to figure out what they need. And with that we also can assist with and provide guidance for protection from abuse orders. So I think those are the top three things, but there are so many other things that we do. And over the past year, year, and a few months, our services because of COVID have just exploded and the need has tripled at least.

Speaker 1 (07:21):

Yeah. I mean, that’s, what’s saving for that. I mean, so how many per on an annual basis average how many victims are already happening?

Speaker 3 (07:32):

Well, I recently, and I don’t have these numbers in front of me, but I can tell you right now, the hotline alone, our incoming calls from July one of this year, 2020 through the end of December, we had 708 incoming calls are over roughly around there. I’m going by memory. That is the first six months of our fiscal year. And we saw that many, the previous two years, 12 months. I mean, so we’re seeing already what we saw last year in the first six months, domestic violence, sexual assault, the traumatic incident reduction all have probably doubled since last year. So at the end of the year, when we compile our stats, we will easily have seen or talk to over 2000 clients victims then include with that. We run the victim witness program, which just so folks who are listening to this podcast realize we also provide full services to all crime victims in Elk and Cameron counties, including court accompaniment, helping them with their crime victims compensation also keeping them apprised of what’s going on in court. There are so much that goes with we’re doing all of that to help victims all at the same time, we all work in a trauma informed atmosphere. So we are very trauma informed. We understand the trauma piece, we understand what people are going through. So it makes for a much more holistic experience.

Speaker 1 (09:20):

I mean, so, so you’re there to help. And how many and who has your staff, so your, your needs have sorry about that audience. So, so your needs have more than doubled. Okay. Causes more than doubled sexual assault has one that all that has your staff, have you been able to increase staff?

Speaker 3 (09:44):

Joanna, no. And that is one of the great needs that we have at CAPSEA currently. No, we can, we do not have enough staff to truly maintain what we’re doing. I mean, we’re doing the best we can, and we are currently in conversation about that, but that is something that all I believe victim services struggle with. And I can only speak for victim services across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, not anywhere else, but I think for the majority of us in a rural setting, especially we’ve always been underfunded on a state level and many times on a federal level. And compared to what the services that we provide are just critical. We are essential services just like law enforcement and many others because we truly save lives.

Speaker 1 (10:37):

Absolutely. And what you know, and so our audience understands, we, we engaged with your organization six months ago, maybe a little more because you recognize that in this time of crisis where everyone, everyone is now virtual, one way you can have more of an impact on communicating how you can help people was to have updated media channels. So a website that better communicate at your services and can connect people with what they need on the site to perhaps reduce your call volume or just, you know, get people where they need faster. And then social media informing people of, of what you do, you know, in real time and, and, and getting the staff, getting the information out there. How let’s, let’s talk about, I mean, most organizations like yours, I would assume during this really busy time, haven’t been able to dedicate the time to focus on the importance of communication yet you guys did. How, how, why is that important to you?

Speaker 3 (11:55):

Well, it was really important because when we engaged in a strategic plan, one of the needs that came to the forefront for us almost immediately was the fact that we were still operating all components of CAPSEA, including our website, which was not updated. And it was very archaic very hard to maneuver our social media, our CAPSEA Facebook was just, I did it within maybe 30 minutes one day, and we just did the best we could. We realized we were not meeting anybody in the area. So especially the younger folks, the younger generation, because they don’t read the newspaper. Like we all do. They don’t listen to radio the way we do. I mean a lot do, but then again, there’s that population that doesn’t well, by engaging with Primo, it has been a phenomenal experience. And one that CAPSEA is going to continue with because the people that comment on the beautiful website and how easy it is for folks to navigate it and how easy it is for them to garnish that information without having to spend two hours reading, they can get it it’s right there.

Speaker 3 (13:25):

I think that was just paramount, especially with COVID because right now we are seeing people in person, but we are seeing a lot of people virtually on the phone via social media, sometimes even with instant messenger. And we’re seeing people that will say I was into your website. And I took a look and I saw some of the services you provide. And I read about those. So I, I’ve also seen and talked with our staff members saying that they spend more time working with folks on what their needs are instead of taking that extra time. And let’s remember a lot of times, especially on the phone, a victim may not have a lot of time to talk. It might be when the abuser’s not there sleeping out of the apartment or house. So you’ve already gotten that. They already know what they want. They know what services we provide. We can just start right there. So it’s, it’s really been great.

Speaker 1 (14:29):

And I would commend you because you recognized the need and you know, you’ve been a pleasure to work with it. We love about certain clients. And there there’s a few, unfortunately I think if you’re few and far between it’s the clients that entrust us to say, here’s, here’s what we, here’s what you need and what, let us do the work. And I think, you know, my, one of my perspectives on that as you know, for, especially for your more your victims that are, let’s say more millennial if they, if they’re, when they’re dating through social media or seeing it through boosted posts you know, cause you know, social media works these days. You have to pay to play many times or going to the website, the website is going to feel relatable to them. If it looks modern and up-to-date, and then that positive communication they’re going to have with your organization is going to impact their, their, their first, the first impression it’s, it’s the first impression.

Speaker 1 (15:34):

Right. And of course would be the first impression too. So, you know, I, you know, one thing that is also really important is you guys have engaged in efforts to seek more donations, right? That’s your needs are so, so, so, but to get the donations step one, right? We have to communicate what the heck’s going on. Let’s talk about that. So we have, we have any increased need, but give us some anecdotes. Like what, what are you seeing in your communities? What are some ah-has of COVID we’re all gonna assume two things, we’re gonna assume there’s an increase in mental health issues, right? And it almost seems like it doesn’t matter where you are. We know that 2020, the CDC reported is going to be the largest the largest depth record for overdoses, for drugs and alcohol in recorded history. That will come up soon. But that’s what they’re seeing right now. That’s where it’s treading drugs, alcohol, mental health. But I’ve not really read much about domestic abuse. You’d assume that’s kind of going and pushing forward as well. Give me tell us our audience really what’s going on inside, inside your community.

Speaker 3 (17:02):

Well, the first thing that comes as you were saying, that the thing that popped right into my mind was the drastic increase in the number of protection from abuse orders that people are calling us or stopping. We’re getting a lot of people that they see a few cars here because we do stagger staff for safety reasons because of COVID, but we will have walk-ins and people that call we’re averaging averaging seven to 14 petitions for a protection from abuse order a week. That’s a five day, week work week. That’s a lot for two counties that total about 35,000 people total in both counties together. That’s a lot. Plus we have to take into consideration while we’re trying to provide these services and help folks that we have to be on top of knowing how are the other helping agencies operating? Are they remote? Are they face-to-face?

Speaker 3 (18:04):

Are they staggered hours, staggered staff? It has been a true game to try to keep up with all of this has done a phenomenal job. I’m also very grateful that our counties play well together. We really do. We collaborate well in order to survive over the years we’ve had to, but it’s really, it is a game every day to, and because the bottom line is you have to make sure are safe. You have to just make sure. And as you talk, Joanna, I’ve noticed again now, again, I don’t have any direct numbers, but over, just in the past few days, I’ve seen so many deaths of younger people and everyone knows everyone here in our area, but they’ve all been overdoses, drug overdoses, and it’s sad.

Speaker 1 (18:58):

Is there a common drugs and heroin?

Speaker 3 (19:01):

We have- meth is real bad right now here. The heroine’s kind of waned it. We have a lot with the methamphetamines.

Speaker 1 (19:09):

Yeah. I’ve heard that as well, that meth. So that, that the three dangers of the pandemic with fatal overdoses is the fentanyl that’s being laced in the heroin, more deadly. The increase in availability of methamphetamines. And then of course, of course, alcohol right. And the problem is when you’re isolated and not held accountable by family, friends and being out there in the community. And when you go out and you’re hiding behind a mask, right. Wow. How much more vulnerable you come? And these poor kids, I mean, it’s you think about the kids? So, so you’re seeing what you’re seeing more desks. And, and so I want to talk about, you know, I’m, I’m really big into wellness and health nutrition in my personal life. And if I could, if I could, one day become a wellness expert, maybe I’ll make a pivot, but that’s not coming anytime soon.

Speaker 1 (20:15):

I need my own house in order first, right. I’m [Unintelligible], but you know, I’ve been, I’ve been a stranger to trauma myself. You know, I have in my own personal family history, a lot of what you call ACEs, adverse childhood experiences.  you know, there’s drug addiction in my family, there’s alcoholism in my family. And while I, I don’t care if they [Unintelligible], thank God  and have avoided that I’ve had to deal with a lot, a lot of, of trauma that lives in your body that lives, lives everywhere. And I still deal with that.  recently I’ve done some reading into sort of how, how you can see the light and, you know, understand how you’ve developed coping patterns when you’ve had trauma that might not be serving you into your doc or serving your children. And so I was really interested to see that year, whenever the only organizations in the entire nation that offers a program called trauma incident reduction, TIR.

Speaker 1 (21:35):

And, and so I started reading about it. Can you think of something like this happening in a very progressive hippie city, because TIR notes with everything, but you, you literally are meeting with a trained specialist that’s within your organization and the victim is reliving the trauma right. Going through it and reliving it, not there and yet not saying here’s an ag depressant, here’s, here’s here’s a prescription, but we’re going to work. We’re going to relive that trauma in order to be able to feel it and then put it to bed. Right. So, so talk to me about, first of all, what, why did you decide to start offering this and then let’s talk about what it is, why you decided to start offering it and what impact you’re seeing?

Speaker 3 (22:33):

Well, just to clarify, CAPSEA is there, are, there are some other folks out there doing TIR traumatic incident reduction, actually the trainer that we utilize Marianne Volkmann out of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, they’re the top. They are the premier trainers and they are the ones that actually run the TIR agency. They, they train worldwide. So there are people trained in Australia, Africa, you name it. Matter of fact, I just spoke with via zoom, a woman from South Africa who just recently was trained, looked us up on, found us on our CAPSEA website and reached out. And we made a connection there, but not to digress any further with that. Right.

Speaker 1 (23:30):

Hey, you can tell her, you want to go to South Africa and offer some personal training. We’ll we’ll we’ll do a Facebook live. That would be great.

Speaker 3 (23:44):

Something that CAPSEA is, can we can tout that we are the only ones in the United States that we have a number of us trained in five different levels of techniques. Plus now we have two levels of ability enhancement, which you have to do after you’re done with some of your other curriculum. And we do that. We don’t charge some people charge on a sliding scale. It’s up to them individually, but CAPSEA does not charge. We P we provided as part of our CAPSEA services. And all of our funding sources realize that this is when you, when you, when we learned all this it’s extra tools for our toolbox. So we’re not actually veering away, too much of what we’re actually we’ve already done when it comes to that trauma informed counseling and empowerment piece. So that’s the reason why they tout us in on the TIR website, TIR.org.

Speaker 3 (24:41):

You can get on that and see that we’re listed as a nonprofit that provides this. How I got to learn about this was through one of our local mental health providers. He is one of the directors for a local one of the children’s services. She and another person went to a regional meeting and they were talking to another to appear at that meeting. And they were talking about really wanting to get some trauma based services, some real good trauma work for children and adults and elk and Cameron counties. So this woman had said, you need to go see some folks. And she mentioned this agency, and I believe it’s called Parkside, but don’t quote me on that. Anyway, it’s in a different County in Pennsylvania. So as a result, what we did was we made an appointment to go visit. And when I got there, it was myself, the director from the elk and Cameron County, children and youth agency, and the administrator for our local Cameron and elk County mental or behavioral health system.

Speaker 3 (25:48):

We wanted to go see about all of this and what we could do for Elk and Cameron. Now, this is probably going back to like 2014, 2014, something like that. We got in a car hopped on interstate 80 and went due West. And we got there and met with these wonderful people. And we were talking with them and they were talking to us about all these wonderful things they did. And one of the gentlemen took a little brochure and, and he said to us, you folks do victim services. He said, I want to tell you, this is a little pamphlet that can change somebody’s life. All you need to do to perform a miracle and help somebody totally eliminate their trauma is what you learn with this. You can put in the back of a index card and you will change somebody’s life. Well, I hung on to that and I thought, you know what?

Speaker 3 (26:47):

I want, I want to know more about that. So we come back here and long story short, I talked to him, I got his card and I called him back. And I say, can you tell me some more about this? And he started explaining to me, and he said, the premier trainer for this is Marian Volkmann. And she hails out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I said, I’m going to look her up and call her. And I literally Googled her and called her on the phone. And I said Ms. Volkmann, this is Billie Jo Weyant. I’m the executive director of CAPSEA. I talked to Harry Nelson. Who’s the gentleman that I spoke with. She said, “Harry, I know Harry very well.” And then the rest is history. I wrote some local grants from some of our local foundations. And over a course of a number of years, I had these trainings.

Speaker 3 (27:38):

I had all like, most of us trained in it. And then I’m still working with Marianne. I just had a zoom call with her on Tuesday or Monday, excuse me. And we’re still talking about her coming back here and doing some other community trainings and some more things. And now they’re doing everything online. So the virtual trainings are not as good as the in-person, but it’s just a wonderful journey. And all of our funding sources they support us. And it’s just great. I’d love to see more people get involved and do it.

Speaker 2 (28:14):

Let’s tell our audience, like let’s dive into. So you said, basically it’s doing TIR can change someone’s life. It’s like performing a miracle. It’s erasing the tr- it’s getting rid of trauma. What do you do? How do you do it?

Speaker 3 (28:32):

Well, and I’m going to explain this. I mean, there’s a lot more to it. It was mainly

Speaker 2 (28:37):

The two minute version.

Speaker 3 (28:38):

The two minute version is the person who is doing it, who is coming for services.

Speaker 2 (28:47):

Maybe you can give an example. Of course not giving names. If there’s a situation within your organization of somebody who had a specific trauma, maybe can, it can sort of tell us maybe if in a storytelling way it might.

Speaker 3 (29:02):

Okay. We it wasn’t me personally. It was one of our staff who actually does all of the TIR right now. She had a gentlemen hear about us through newspaper articles and some different things that we had done on the radio local radio stations about TIR to start promoting it. And this guy called and said, he would like to know more about it. So he came and talked to Tiffany and our counselor, and there is this we do like a little preview to let folks know what to expect and everything, and a result. He decided he wanted to try this because he is a child witnessed his girl, heard a gunshot go off in his house. And he heard his, his grandmother was he, she attempted suicide, but she did not complete. And as a small child, he witnessed that. Now that’s horrific trauma.

Speaker 3 (30:10):

So over the years, what happens is you don’t know how to deal with that. And you don’t remember it all because you are, your memories get, become so fragmented because of the trauma in your body, trying to protect itself. This is with any type, with a victim of rape, you know? So I’m kind of explaining. And then for a while, you’re all right, because you don’t think about it. And then something will trigger you. It could be a smell. It could be a taste. It could be something that you saw. It could be a tone of someone’s voice, anything. And those traumatic experiences come to the forefront. And a lot of people start having these fragmented flashbacks, or they remember it. They start to do things like self-medicate alcohol, drugs promiscuous behavior,

Speaker 2 (31:00):

Or are they before they start to self-medicate what happens in the body? I mean, before they say it, is it when, when, when the memories in a fragmented way, start to resurface in the brain. Yeah. Then, then the person, they just feel out of control. What’s what’s the step before this.

Speaker 3 (31:19):

Now you’re still, you’re going to be seeing that with anybody that’s traumatized way before they even remember it’s kids in school that everybody believes are unruly, or the kids that are always picking fights or those kids. You know, when you, when I hear kids are bullying thing is what happened to that child? Why is that child lashing out they’re crying for help is what they’re doing. So with TIR, when someone’s ready, if they choose to do it, they are then going to work with their facilitator there. One of the counselors here who’s trained in it. And for instance, that person then is going to take that. We work with them to find out what they want to work on. And we take that, and it’s almost like a movie clip, and they’re going to say, I want to start here and I want to end there. And then we hardly say anything. That person continues to view that, that situation, that trauma, or that traumatic experience, and we will go over it and over it, and a person will know, and you’ll see, they’ll come to what we call an end point. And when that end point occurs, that that has no feeling. There’s no reaction, no feeling left. You’ll never forget it, but it’s not going to affect you. Like it used to. And your body, it’s like, you’re living your body,

Speaker 2 (32:49):

Not being stuck in the tunnel. It’s like passing through the tunnel. And now you’re out.

Speaker 3 (32:54):

Perfect way to explain that. That was a perfect analogy. Yes, I have. We have been doing it here at CAPSEA since 2015. And I am telling you, I have seen, I have seen remarkable results and it’s just unbelievable, just unbelievable. And we don’t ever put a time limit on it. It is. As long as it takes, we have had people come here and it only takes half hour to an hour. Some people, one or two passes through, and they’re like, I feel great. Then there are other,

Speaker 2 (33:31):

And it’s almost like, you know, wow. Many of these people finally have somebody that will wants to listen to them and wants to hear their stories. You know, a lot of ways that I, myself organically just naturally have, have tried to pass through. You never get over your trauma as you pass through them. Right. They’re always going to be there, but you have to pass through them. You can’t let them sit is by just like talking, right? Can we communicate? But sometimes that’s hard because you you know, if you, if you don’t have somebody who you’re with whom you’re talking, that is objective, then you might color the story a little bit. Right? It might not, you might not tell the whole story. You might only tell parts of it. And I think that’s the importance of having an actual, you know, counselor, that’s gone through all five steps of training, like you, like you mentioned since. So how, how is, are your counselors seeing, is there an increase since COVID of people wanting TIR? I mean, first of all, do you, do you incur, of course you would. If, if you could give everyone TIR, I’m sure you would, but you, you, you only have limited resources until we can get you more money raised.

Speaker 3 (34:56):

Right. And we’re walking on that,

Speaker 2 (34:58):

But do you flag certain people say, “You need TIR. Here’s why you need it.” Or like, how, how is it, how are you getting these tr refer- TIR referrals? And what is your, what is your wait time now hesitant.

Speaker 3 (35:14):

We are… Word travels fast in a small community. So I think part of it is word of mouth so-and-so will say, Oh my gosh, this changed my life. And now we’re seeing more and more people who aren’t reluctant to do it because once somebody around in, in our community will you try that? And it worked for them and it didn’t hurt and it was bad. And then they share with somebody else that other person wants to also try it. But anybody that comes here, we’re all we are trained at CAPSEA to first of all, assess their needs. So if I have somebody in here that is really in a dangerous situation, and they, for instance, need a protection order, we’re not going to talk about TIR or ongoing counseling until that, that emergency, that person’s safe, I should say, but we always offer it in the handouts that we provide in on our website.

Speaker 3 (36:16):

And just talking to somebody on the phone, when you start talking, you just somebody that wants to vent and they’ve had long-term trauma or long-term victimization. My example quickly is a couple nights ago, I spoke with one of in a neighboring County. We had one, one of their legal advocates called me, has known me forever and just called me and said, I want to run some things by you with a client that I think is going to be coming to your County without mentioning names. We were kind of prepping for this person to come talk to us and work with us so that this person didn’t end their services. In the meantime, she starts telling me about a family member that, and all they were working with with this family member, because a family member was traumatized and it has been a horrendous situation.

Speaker 3 (37:08):

And, and going on at that time is when I said, if you want, we do traumatic incident reduction too. So if you would like to know more about that, let me know. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Well, the next day that woman actually texted me and said, “Please, Billie Jo, let me know more about that. Can we talk?” So that’s kind of how we bring it up. We don’t force anybody, but it’s an option. It’s an option, just like the other options. And also there are some people where we don’t even want to bring that up because they may not be ready. But as we build that trust and start that relationship with somebody in that counseling arena, then you then are able to say an option you have, you know, is to try this someday, if you want. And I can give you some information on it. And I think Joanna, the one of the great things was the takeaway, the collateral that Primo did for us the front and back, because it gives you, again, it tells you everything about that TIR, that it really helps people. And then, then they’re ready and they don’t feel so anxious. Like they don’t know what to expect.

Speaker 2 (38:23):

Are you guys collecting any data on the people who have had, have, have completed TIR and the sort of, I don’t want to say the word relapsed, but then having to come back to CAPSEA for more services. Like, if, if, if in other words, if it’s through healing, their trauma limit, limiting the number of, of exposures are gonna have to more trauma.

Speaker 3 (38:54):

We haven’t locally. We have a data collection system that we must use because of some of our funding sources, but on that international level, they are actually the TIR folks, Marian Volkmann and her gang. They’re all working on that right now. And they are actually doing an international one of the premier trainers in England. I believe that gentlemen starting to pull together a data collection system. So hopefully we can be a part of that. There is a book of research on TIR I actually have a copy and I use a lot of it for grants that I write, because it’s just phenomenal. And the research that they’ve done already, and they actually did some focus groups and things including female inmates and the fee. It’s interesting to rate. Interesting. So that’s out there and it’s available, but it’s good stuff. It really is. And believe me with as busy as we are and what we do here, if it’s something we would have tried and it was not helping, or it was being harmful to someone, I would have stopped it right away. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (40:11):

I mean look, I mean, that’s part, that’s part of why you’re good at your job is you can feel impact. You can feel, so we don’t have much time. I want to ask you three questions and kind of putting you on the spot and, and sort of answer this sort of in the perspective of the past year, you know, of, of the crisis we’ve been in with the global pandemic. What is one thing that you have your organization has been most grateful for this year?

Speaker 4 (40:45):


Speaker 3 (40:47):

Boy, there’s so many

Speaker 3 (40:52):

I think that I’m going to say this and not just because you’re on here with me, but I think I am so grateful for Premo and also the Hill group, the consulting firm that we worked with, because if it wouldn’t be, for both of you CAPSEA would never have been in the position to be able to do what we are doing right now with the current staff and be able to like help all the people that we’re helping. We couldn’t have done it without you. And I’m not just saying that because you’re sitting here with me, I truly mean that. Thank you.

Speaker 2 (41:27):

This is why like, this truly is why I do what I do, because you know, the organizations like CAPSEA that are doing all the important really, really hard work. They, you don’t have time to tell your story. And if you don’t tell your story, then you’re not going to impact as many people, but you’re busy. You’re, you’re grinding every day and not for nothing but you and all of your staff, you go through trauma. So there’s an aspect of trauma that you deal with every day in your job. My mom was a social worker worked in worked in Auberly, a group home with, you know, taking care of kids that, you know, the system trust me, they put, they don’t care. You’re going with your mom and dad, unless literally your life is in danger. Right. So she was taking care of these kids that I can’t even imagine the trauma. But yeah, I mean, she took that home with her. How couldn’t you thank you. Two more questions, looking at the entire sphere of social services that you guys are all helping to coordinate on behalf of victims. What’s the one thing that really frustrates you, that if you had a magic wand, you would change

Speaker 3 (42:46):

The red tape and the bureaucracy, the amount of paperwork, the redundant repetitive use. I mean, it’s literally a lot of what we have to do just to keep our funds coming in. It is just it’s senseless. It really is to have a more streamlined way to do things. It’s it’s no, no one funding source is like the other, everyone has to be different and it’s very, it’s so difficult. It’s so difficult. And the timeframes for instance Kathy has the opportunity to get some additional housing money for victims in both counties, elk, and Cameron counties, but the hoops, we must jump through to do that. And it’s due on Tuesday and I received the information yesterday. So it’s, if you want to do it, you better get on the ball and do it. If not, we’re going to leave you in the dust.

Speaker 2 (43:45):

Well, if you need help, if you need help, let me know, Marissa yeah, I can, I can, well, I know what you’re saying with the red tape. Okay. Last question. What’s one lesson that you’ve learned through the pandemic that your organization has learned. What’s something you’ve. How has your perspective maybe changed a little bit?

Speaker 3 (44:08):

Boy, I always say this about the work we do, but I think I can say it about the pandemic. We truly, through this pandemic can see the best in people and the worst in people. It just has brought to the forefront. Oh yes. The extremes are, it’s just unbelievable. And the severity of the abuse, I thought maybe a number of years ago when we always had, you know, conversations with staff and they would say, you know, there’s so much violence on TV. It’s numbed us all. You know, we’re so numb to all of this, but now what we’re seeing and the situations we’re experiencing, plus having to again, figure out when is this office open? When can this office see somebody? How can we keep so-and-so safe until this office can see them? It’s just jumping hoops constantly. So I think that that really brought it to the forefront.

Speaker 3 (45:14):

And I don’t know if this should be positive. I mean, I’m looking at it that there are more people who are seeking help. And I think the pandemic possibly brought folks to us, which I’m glad because they’re getting the help that they need. So we want to be sure that we’re stable and strong and able to grow and continue to meet those needs. So again, that’s why I say coming back full circle. I know that we never be where we are right here without you at Primo and also the Hill group. We couldn’t have done it. And I thank you so much for that Joanna.

Speaker 2 (45:53):

Oh my gosh. Well, you’re welcome. And I mean, I feel, I feel like you’re the one doing the work here. You know what I could have you on for a longer amount of time, we could talk more about TIR and just some of the things you’re seeing in your community. See the picture. I feel like, you know, when you read most newspapers national news or see national TV news stories so much focuses on urban black communities, and that should be a focus, right? There’s enough focus on the other side of, of the, the less resource world in America. And that’s the rural whites, you know, and I, I hate to, I’m not trying to be polarizing, but I think that the conversation needs to happen, that the pandemic is hurting a large swath of people and pay attention to all of them. So I’m going to be pushing for some national media on this and leveraging this podcast to make people listen. I’d love to have you on again soon. And again, thank you for all that you do

Speaker 5 (47:01):

Take care, take care Joanna.

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On Crisis: Episode 11

On Crisis: Episode 11

feat. Michael Marr | Former NY Governor Press Secretary Michael Marr joins Joanna Doven to talk about his experience working through crises in corporate America and on Capitol Hill.THE "ON CRISIS" PODCAST: EPISODE 11Michael Marr serves as the Director of Government...

On Crisis: Episode 10

On Crisis: Episode 10

Joanna Doven is joined by renowned author and Wall Street Journal reporter Kris Maher to hear about his new book on a West Virginia water crisis and to learn about his mindset when reporting on crises.

On Crisis – Episode 9

On Crisis – Episode 9

Joanna Doven talks with Jeff Hahn, the Owner and Principal of Hahn Public, to talk his new book, why universities tend to be so bad at crisis communications, and his 5 step method to crisis response.

On Crisis: Episode 8

On Crisis: Episode 8

Reporter Sean Hamill talks about major COVID-19 outbreaks in senior care facilities and how many of them have mishandled the situation, as well as the future of local newspapers, and the key role Facebook and Google can play in their comeback.



Pittsburgh Public Information Officer Chris Togneri talks about how he transformed his office’s social media channels into a newsroom, social media’s potential to allow people to make their own news, and more.



Aurora’s leadership talks about the company’s work with self-driving vehicles, the long-term communications mindset, and why aggressive communications on the company’s “safety first” commitment is paramount.



Allison Bentley talks about applying her lessons-learned at an international retail company to help differentiate a new startup in an evolving industry from its many competitors.



Top legal mind who represents dozens of school districts, Ira Weiss, discusses the importance of having a robust school district communications plan, especially right now.



Senior Managing Director of a large independent advisory firm, Mike Shebak, shares how they pivoted daily client communications during the COVID-19 crisis.



Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Rich Lord talks about the changing media landscape and what that means for managing news media during crises.

On Crisis Podcast with Joanna Doven Premo Consultants


Hosted by Joanna Doven, Premo CEO and one of the youngest big city mayoral press secretaries in the United States, On Crisis is a podcast that delves into a daunting challenge that all sectors inevitably face: how to skillfully navigate a crisis. Joined by guest speakers of all industries, Doven takes you “inside the crisis,” discussing real-time decision-making and providing helpful takeaways that can be applied to any business plan.

New episodes airing regularly. Check back soon! 

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