In 1994, Lanette Brown, a TRIO program director, created an award-winning program for talented California high school students from low-income families. Recognizing the crucial role that emotions play in success, she hired Loma K. Flowers, MD as a consultant to “teach the students everything they need to know, psychiatrically, to succeed as first-generation-college graduates in an accelerated seven year program.”
Although psychiatry in the twentieth century focused primarily on mental illness, Ms. Brown’s ambitious charge pointed the way to the new field of managing normal emotions in everyday life.
This field is now known as emotional competence (or emotional intelligence). Dr. Flowers used her broad experience with psychodynamics in extremely diverse patients, from community psychiatry and veterans to private practice, to separate out the normal dynamics, (“psychonormality,”) and articulate them as easily understandable steps. Her work is consistent with that of Comer, Gardner, Goleman and others.
Dr. Flowers led numerous workshops and seminars with students, faculty, staff and parents in California, later nationally and in England. Steadily integrating the feedback and experiences of participants, she developed a program to teach adults, teens and children a comprehensive understanding of feeling management, along with practical skills and strategies designed for individual applications.
Developing the curriculum from these teaching experiences offered trainees the greatest adaptability of the material to a range of cultures, socioeconomic levels, individual circumstances and professional orientations. This has been reflected in the overwhelmingly positive response from our remarkably diverse workshop trainees,
Because these skills are grounded in fundamental principles - not just rules - they foster resilient character development and are adaptable to most situations, from survival to the highest professional achievements.
Equilibrium Dynamics was formed in 2006 to broaden the reach of the program by training more teachers and providing funding for workshops for members of underserved groups. Continuing to integrate feedback, we will also incorporate standard research methods into workshops to enhance effectiveness and contribute to academic publications in the field.