Kirstin spoke to law students at ASU's Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law about proactively managing their mental health, self care, and trauma. A career in the law brings with it tremendous responsibility, and with that comes anxiety and stress. In addition, attorneys often hold their clients' lives in the balance and are exposed to the traumas that put those lives at risk in the first place. Even a single exposure to another's trauma can have a profound impact on an individual, but prolonged and repeated exposure can lead to compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. Kirstin shares how she has learned to manage both the secondary trauma and vicarious trauma resulting from her work on prisoners' rights issues. Below is the self-care map Kirstin designed both for herself and for students in ATLaS Justice Center's ID program, along with example maps showing different approaches to self care. Kirstin's approach to self-care is to map three activities in the morning and three activities in the evening that help her maintain her perspective and her personal balance. In addition to mapping, Kirstin works with an empath coach and trauma therapists. She worked for years with a career coach for lawyers. In her experience, the more seriously and more proactively you manage your mental health and the inherent trauma of the legal profession, the less likely you are to lose your footing.
ED Kirstin attended her favorite prison reform conference in Dallas last week. And the conference lived up to its historical magic. This conference is such a bed of innovation because of its family atmosphere, its dogged focus on relationships and connections. When walls come down, ideas pop up. This year's conference featured some familiar faces, sharing progress and struggles, but it also featured an amazing poet whose poetry dropped jaws and well as important comparative insights from a colleague working in Scotland. Here is my conversation with one of my favorite people I met at the conference, Armondo DePina, following my seminar on Incarceration Trauma: What it is and how to cope. Armondo does an amazing job each year video documenting the conference. Below are some images from the conference.