Bring the Growing A New Heart team to your organization. We offer seminars and retreats that educate and prepare people to succede in environments requiring a sensitive approach to issues of cutlutral and socioeconomic diversity, domestic violence and abuse,  substance abuse, and gender roles. Growing A New Heart can broaden your perspectives and increase empathy to individuals, families, and organizations to help them cope with challenges and facilitate positive change. Contact us at any time to learn more about how we can help.

Clinician Allies for Survivors™

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Effective Clinical Intervention with Survivors of Domestic Violence

A one-day workshop for clinicians and helpers
Led by JAC Patrissi

This workshop is designed to help therapists, social workers, child protection workers and those who seek to play a supportive role for survivors of domestic violence and others who are navigating current or past abusive relationships. No prior knowledge of intimate partner violence is required.

Over the course of the day’s lectures, handouts, small group work and behavioral rehearsals, participants will:

• Identify and make distinctions among abusive and destructive relationships, including working with persons in romantic partnership with people who have untreated mental health issues, untreated addiction, chronic immaturity and/or abusive values
• Analyze the impact on the survivors of prevalent lenses for understanding domestic violence
• Analyze the impact of social responses to domestic violence
• Analyze a stage model of survivors’ experience
• Predict and preparefor interactions with survivors
• Identify and practice optimistic attunement with survivors of domestic violence
• Practice resilience-promoting responses and treatment plans for survivors of domestic violence 

Dialogues Across Differences™

Learn Critical Skills to Build Equity in All Communities

 Facilitated by JAC Patrissi and Tanisha Arena


How do we talk about race? Gender? Equity?

Enhance your skills in facilitating conversations across profound differences of experience, identity and understanding.

Learn the skills necessary to facilitate dialogue through an approach that will strengthen the abilities you already have.

Drawing on teachings from Popular Education, Dialogue Education and theories of adult learning, we will practice shaping dialogue, and engaging in productive conversations across differences in a way that strengthens us all.


 In this training, participants will learn to:

  • Engage adults in a  process of learning and social change that employs a set of Popular Education principles that are respectful, empowering and accountable
  • Work with content about intersectional oppression, anticipating tensions to address common and predictable misconceptions, values and conflicts in our communities and culture
  • Find restorative resources for one’s self
  • Learn when to apply this learning and when best to hold back
  • Identify powerful facilitate questions and create opportunities to practice skills and receive feedback in a respectful, challenging, and energetic forum


Register for Dialogues Across Differences

Earlier this week I participated in a deeply thoughtful, healing and transformative training called Dialogues Across Differences facilitated by the incredibly experienced, engaging, dynamic and compassionate JAC Patrissi. She expertly guided us through a path of honoring our unique intelligences and perspectives and understanding how to create bridges to those who are very different from us in dialogues with simple practical skills that were backed up with in depth research and lived experience.

JAC has an understanding of intersectional identities, racial injustice, cross cultural relationships and trauma healing from her both mainstream and eclectic career path. I highly recommend connecting with her and engaging in her work for whatever way one is wanting to build bridges in your personal and professional life. What she offered is stirring deeply in me and helping me to see how to continue growing through engaging across differences in all aspects of my life.

Hilary Lake

“In 44 years of training, I have never had a better training experience!”

Campus Services employee, University of Massachusetts

“For the past two days I’ve been acquiring tools to effectively communicate with people who have different values. JAC Patrissi, powerful, passionate, and a brilliant communicator, developed and facilitated this workshop. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking skills on building community, collaboration and respectful dialogue.

“JAC Patrissi I cant share this enough. I wish I could wave my magic wand and every person breathing could take this, it’s so important.”

Jennifer McFeeters

“Please know that I think very highly of you and Tanisha and see you both being leaders at the forefront of America’s Racial Healing. Actually, it’s a moral charge that neither of you can escape.”
Denise Ellison


Happy and Hard-to-Fool

Learn principles and tools to prepare you for happy and fulfilling relationships

Happy & Hard-to-Fool is an extraordinary opportunity to explore the nature of human relationships and make yourself a stronger, more successful partner and self-advocate.

Learn when to work harder, and when to stop working so hard. Together we let go of the messages that don’t serve us, and embrace the power of our wisest, most joyful selves in loving connection to others. This workshop is helpful for young women new to intimate partnerships, and for more mature women who are sorting through their relationship histories. The skills we practice will also strengthen your family and professional connections. If you have been in any kind of relationship with family, friends or intimate partners who have unresolved trauma, mental health issues, untreated addiction, or chronic immaturity, or who have been emotionally or physically coercive or abusive, this retreat will be especially helpful to you.

Happy & Hard to Fool


• Build relationships that are clear, satisfying, and mutually loving
• Learn how to insist and why
• Know when to stop trying and why
• Gain supportive connections
• Support other women in your community

  Please email me to register at

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Can They Really Change? Can We?

A Curriculum for community members and professionals who want to learn to interrupt, manage and help transform abusive values in the people we work with and share community with.

Led by JAC Patrissi, MSW

This approach to deepening our understanding of perpetration as a behavior offers an accessible framework that invites us all to examine our relationship to colonial derived values of white supremacy and other forms of superiority and dominance. 

In an interactive format, we examine what works with people who use abuse tactics and how to orient ourselves in a way that engages compassionately without colluding. The curriculum was derived from practitioners and survivors throughout MA, and designed by JAC Patrissi.

By the end of these two half-days on Zoom  participants will have:

  • Identified and practiced recognizing distinctions among conflict models, lenses for understanding IPV, abusive manipulations, patterns, and values;
  • Identifiedhow to engage abusive partners without enabling abusive behavior;
  • Chosenpreferred strategies for maintaining appropriate boundaries and limit-setting with abusive partners;
  • Chosenpreferred strategies for identifying and mitigating risk as applied to CEDV and SVS;
  • Identifiedhow structural inequalities influence abusive partners’ view and experience of CEDV and SVS programs;
  • Practicedacknowledging inequalities while stressing accountability and practiced being mindful of how our own social location impacts our effectiveness;
  • Anticipatedthe impact of abuse on survivors’ experience of CEDV and SVS services;
  • Identifiedhow to engage survivors in a way regarding their partners that affirms their experience;
  • Identifiedabusive partners’ minimization strategies related to the impact on kids;
  • Heardbasic structure, summary guidelines, standards/timeframe/rules/effectiveness for Intimate Partner Abuse Education;
  • Identifiedfurther training topics/points of collaboration.  

“In thirty years I have not heard this material. It is fresh, practical and eye opening.”

Janet Collins


“I felt like I wanted to take a class in every idea presented. It is a MEAL. And her delivery is so transparent and easy to follow. I could listen all day—I did! And I never got tired. Usually I leave trainings early. I was disappointed it ended.”

Sean M.


A Curriculum for Substance Use Disorder Treatment Providers

Led by JAC Patrissi, MSW / Ed Schreiber, EdM, TEP, LADC1

Even seasoned professionals and advocates will learn from this innovative set of frameworks that helps us examine who becomes violent in their intimate partnerships, and what interventions help promote change. The workshop includes skill building that can be applied to working effectively with anyone who misuses power. This is recommended for anyone in the helping professions who comes into contact with people who can be abusive and aims to help in understanding and responding to people who perpetrate domestic violence.

This workshop examines who becomes violent in their intimate partnerships, and what interventions help promote change. The workshop includes skill building that can be applied to working effectively with people who are abusive that also dealing with addiction or substance use disorder. Participants should have a fundamental knowledge of SUD, as this is geared to SUD professionals who want to expand their skills and knowledge base to work more effectively with people who use violence in their intimate partnerships.

By the end of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and practice recognizing abusive manipulations, patterns, and values; Make critical distinctions between healthy relationship conflict and intimate partner violence
  • Identify how to engage abusive partners without further enabling their abusive behavior
  • Describe their preferred strategies for maintaining appropriate and effective boundaries and limit-setting with abusive clients
  • Identify how structural inequalities influence abusive partners’ view and experience of mandated substance use treatment and/or intervention for perpetrating domestic abuse
  • Practice acknowledging clients’ inequalities while stressing their accountability
  • Define their own social location and practice being mindful of how it impacts their effectiveness in working with their clients
  • Anticipate the possible impact of abuse on survivors’ that working with their abuser could trigger
  • Assess their understanding of survivors in a way that affirms their experience;
  • Identify abusive partners’ minimization strategies related to the impact of their abusive behaviors and values on their partners and kids
  • Clarify their understanding of the relationship between mental health and the perpetration of domestic abuse
  • Distinguish the relationship of childhood trauma and the perpetration of domestic abuse.

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Undoing White Supremacy in the Workplace™

Led by JAC Patrissi & Tanisha Arena

A workshop designed to help foster joyful equitable workplaces through an examination and restructuring of racial power dynamics.


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Holding Space™

Helping white people understanding the oppression of BIPOC.

JAC Patrissi ’89, is a White woman doing anti-racism/anti-oppression work with a consortium of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). During the workshop, JAC will help us understand anti-racism and formulate our roles in the Black Lives Matter movement. This workshop is geared towards White women taking a first step in our journey as White people to understanding the oppression of BIPOC.

JAC will help us understand the faces of oppression, and how to orient ourselves as White women to the leadership of BIPOC women. As such, it is important to take these first anti-racism self- education steps within our “cohort” before engaging in more work in cooperative formats under the leadership of BIPOC. Our cohort is intended for White women who attended Bryn Mawr College.

This formula, taking a first step in a White cohort, was designed with Black women leadership at Growing A New Heart who request that White women take some steps at self-education first, before engaging with BIPOC, as a sign of respect and also as an appropriate division of labor.

If a BIPOC woman desires to attend these first steps geared towards self-education about Whiteness, she is more than welcome. We request that men do not enroll in this space, as we will be exploring the history White women have had in movement making regarding their relationship towards White men and BIPOC women, and we would like to hold ourselves in self-awareness.

Mobilizing Your Community™

Effective approaches for motivating and organizing toward common goals

Led by JAC Patrissi & Tanisha Arena

Community Mobilization includes a set of planning tools and skills to strengthen your ability to work with diverse communities towards common goals. These tools are especially helpful when forging coalitions across divides of social location.

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Storytelling for Change™

Telling the story of your work to extend your message and motivate supporters

Led by JAC Patrissi

“Don’t you know yet?
It is your light that lights the worlds.

— Rumi

We invite you to join us in a creativity workshop aimed at strengthening the ability of all staff to tell the essential story of the work we do in a way that is brief, natural, and compelling. Together, we will explore how audience, character, conflict, and calls to action impact our message. We will clarify our own understanding of the kind of change we seek through the work we do and the message we want to impart.

We will learn simple ways to use our voice and bodies to convey our message naturally. During the session, we’ll tell our stories to one another in small learning groups in a supportive, safe environment. Our facilitator JAC Patrissi is a professional storyteller and author. As a former writing teacher at Choate Rosemary Hall, she coaches development and social change professionals in storytelling, runs storytelling events and regularly tells nonprofit essential stories through film, newspaper, radio, and local television.


“I went to a large conference on using creativity in our field, attended by a wide variety of nonprofit membership. This workshop was not the keynote, but should have been, as it was hands down the best thing about the conference. What I learned over the few hours in the workshop has completely changed how I communicate the work of the nonprofit I work for. One other thing stands out for me at one point JAC shared with us a storytelling ritual that she was given by some women she had worked with in North Africa who had asked her to share the gift with others she worked with. One of the young women in the room called her out on cultural appropriation and was quite rude about it. I felt myself getting angry. When JAC responded, she was not defensive. It was like there was not a defensive bone in her body. I may have learned more about leadership from that interaction than I did about storytelling for change, if that is possible!”

— Janice Leisenring, Maryland


“As a visual artist who works with survivors of domestic violence, I have had the honor of collaborating with JAC on an art exhibit and storytelling event.
“JAC’s role with the participants was as a healing presence and guide, coaxing out their stories into words that could be shared with others. It has been a privilege to watch JAC work her magic with this.  Through her guidance, each participant was able to tell a powerful, moving story of their experience. The stories often started out incoherent and rambling, as an emotional release. With JAC’s gentle guidance, the words came together in a way that the participant was able to feel truly heard, possibly for the first time.
“JAC then worked with the participants to weave the stories into a moving and enlightening performance. I witnessed these participants as they travelled through their stories, transforming as they went. Additionally, this profound work created a bond with the audience, who then also became a part of the healing community.  JAC has the sophistication, the skill and the heart that makes this level of connection possible. Without exaggeration, everyone’s lives were changed after each of her facilitated storytelling events — the lighting and sound people, the audience, the storytellers, me.”

— Babs Mayer, Artist and Advocate


BIPOC at the Center

Re-examining our approach to mental health in the context of White Supremacy

Facilitated by Tanisha Arena, Ysabel Garcia and JAC Patrissi

We make recommendations for a process of mental health decolonization and expansion to BIPOC community integrated models of self care and treatment. We teach the skills to dialogue with humility across differences of social location.

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