DAILY POST CHALLENGE

WHAT SHOULD MY BLOG BE CALLED?  Topic #214 asks: Explain the name of your blog and why you chose it. Submitted by Alex from the There May be Trouble Ahead blog (talk about blog names that need explaining 🙂

Emotional Fitness Training is my blog’s current name, it is the name of my business, I trademarked it in the late 1990’s and continue to hold the trademark.  Some asked me to sell the name and trademark,  others violated it,  so the name has  merit, but I also wonder whether a shorter, snappier  name would better benefit my blogging efforts.

How did I decide on Emotional Fitness Training? For many years I directed a mental health crisis team in the Mott Haven, part of the South Bronx and considered by many the poorest community district in the United States.  Thomas Wolfe’s  Bonfire of the Vanities  provides a vivid fictional picture of Mott Haven during the years some called ” The Bronx is Burning.”  In 1992, Mott Haven was awarded one of the first Federal System of Care Grants.  The purpose of the grant was to improve the mental health services of families and children living in Mott Haven.    Jonathan Kozel’s  books Amazing Grace and Ordinary Resurrections, provide vivid portraits of Mott Haven during the grant period. It was this grant that financed the program I directed in Mott Haven.

We worked with teens and their families at risk of death by suicide.  What struck me was that many of the youth and their fathers were heavy into body building and physical fitness.  Perfectly understandable given the violence of the Mott Haven Streets, for while not common, several shoot outs and two stabbings occurred during my tenure; more devestating, three young men, I knew,  died in gang related deaths.   At the same time in the community, a great stigma to seeking mental health services existed; a stigma that was particularly strong because of the perception that seeking such help denotes weakness.

At about this time, Daniel Goleman’s work on Emotional Intelligence caught my interest and was incorporated into my book Parents Are People Too, An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents.   By then I had incorporated Emotional Fitness Training and so of course when I started a web page and later a blog, the name stuck.  By linking Emotional Intelligence with the fitness model, I hoped to overcome the stigma many felt.   My programs seek to strengthen existing skills, provide information about emotional health, and reduce the stigma attached to mental illness which I prefer to think of as major emotional stress battles.  Those of you who read my blog and facebook pages, know I think trauma–the body and mind’s reaction to overwhelming stress–lies at the root of most major mental illnesses.   Trauma is best treated by self-soothing, support, cognitive therapies and if those fail by medication.

I was also deeply impressed during my years in Mott Haven with the emotionally strength of those I worked with.  The grant required hiring of community members to serve as parent advocates and recreational workers and it was with these I formed the closest relationships in the community and who helped me develop my Twelve Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises.

Both in the streets of Mott Haven, and in the more middle class venues where I carried out my private practice, Emotional Fitness Training worked for some, but has never catapulted my efforts into the profit column.  Which is why I now wonder if I should change its name.  So, let me know your opinion.  The down side of changing would be having to re-establish the brand, so your argument for change needs to overcome the weariness I feel in facing that task and to be honest, I probably won’t change the name, but may still find use for your suggestions.

Thank you for reading and for commenting if you do.  As always: Share, care, and stay strong


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