Some quotations in this section are from a report entitled: "New York State Department of Labor Job-Training Program: Applying the Progoff Intensive Journal Method" and the trainees who participated in the program. References are cited as "Trainee" or as "NYS-DOL Report". The article is available on this website in the section of Job Training called Articles.
The Intensive Journal method can be used to increase the effectiveness of a job training program. Trainees develop new perspectives on their lives, giving them the ability to grow as individuals. They can become more productive, responsible and mature. Through this transformation in attitudes and behavior, their all-important interpersonal skills are strengthened.
"As an indication of the 'quality of work' aspect of the program, the geriatric residents increasingly made it a point to request that trainees of the Dialogue House program take care of them, rather than the regular employees."
This improvement is especially helpful for individuals who are difficult to train, and who often exhibit uncooperative and lackadaisical behavior. These individuals who often require special attention and training can be changed at a fundamental level using the Intensive Journal method. After all, performance in entry level jobs is determined heavily by an individual's attitude, reliability, interpersonal skills, and interest and determination in succeeding. The Progoff methodology can change a person in a fundamental way to increase the success rate of these difficult to train individuals.
"Pride in self leads to pride in work,... the tangible experience of knowing that you are a person living a valid life is the essential factor in bringing about an increase in the quality of work in an organization."
By connecting with their unique life experiences, trainees are able to access and develop their inner strengths and capacities, and gain life-changing insights and perspectives. Trainees move from a state of denial and avoidance of painful feelings and experiences to greater recognition and acceptance. They learn to trust their own inner process and are better able to address powerful issues that had previously resulted in anger, hostility and frustration.
"I am a person who doubts myself very much. Now with the Journal I don't doubt myself, because I know I can do it and I'm going to do it."
Changing the attitudes of participants is critical for their success in the training program, especially since they are coming from a tough living environment.
"At Isabella House, it was frequently observed that the young men and women who were lackadaisical and diffident when they entered the program became enthusiastic in taking care of the older patients, volunteering to do much more than was required of them."
"Both department supervisors and residents have commented on the change of atmosphere since the trainees joined the staff. They use words such as 'enthusiasm,' 'interest,' 'kindness' and 'a sense of the joy of life.'"
The Progoff methodology employs several procedures that help trainees change their attitudes. The atmosphere of the workshop is supportive and respectful of the trainees’ unique process. Emphasizing privacy, a nonjudgmental approach provides a safe environment from which to explore their lives, including many powerful and emotional issues.
The Progoff methodology helps trainees avoid preconceived ways of thinking. They do not analyze their lives, which results in circular ways of thinking. Instead, to break free, they follow the Intensive Journal procedures, working at a deep inner level in an non-analytical way. They are able to evoke and draw forth capacities and resources from within to build their lives. The Intensive Journal exercises help make tangible experiences and emotions from which to gain awareness.
"I see the Journal as changing my whole life... a lot of attitudes change in the Journal..."
"My daughter says, 'Momma it's made you a changed person. Before you were so cranky and now you've got patience.'"
"...I get a lot of what's inside of me out...You feel different... I think my attitude changed too. Before I didn't even care... I started working in it and I finally got a lot out of it..."
Greater awareness of their behavior and how they interact with others can lead to major changes in terms of patience, maturity, confidence among trainees. Through enhanced interpersonal skills, key aspects of their lives improve, including family relationships and performance in training programs.
"[Through] the Journal, I noticed one thing there - that everything I've been doing in my life, I've been doing the same thing since when I was young... I've changed, I've accepted responsibility... I worked out a lot of hostility [in the Journal]."
"To be in nursing you have to have patience... you can't come in to take care of this patient with your family problems, if you don't feel happy today... Dr. Progoff's program is very good to work out your feelings and try to understand yourself."