When a loved one gets charged with a serious crime and goes to prison it’s not only their life that is falling apart, oftentimes people fail to think about the families and loved ones of the incarcerated and the issues and stress they are facing. Those loved ones are going through a hellish journey of their own and while they are supporting their loved ones in prison, no one is supporting them.
Jolyn Armstrong recognized the need for a support system after going through a situation of her son going to prison for a serious crime. Her son was serving in the military at the time, his future planned and laid out before him when everything changed in a moment.
Jolyn felt loss, the fear of the child she raised facing prison, and worried about what he could go through inside of there. The shame she felt made it hard for her to share the news with her family, and worried it could affect her business. The mourning of not only letting go of the future she thought her son would have, but she also was mourning the potential loss of her relationship with her son, not being able to see him often or have him home on holidays. She felt isolated, alone, and scared.
With the help of therapy, she was able to overcome a lot of these fears and anxieties, and while her therapist was wonderful she didn’t share her experience and wasn’t able to fully understand what Jolyn was going through.
Recognizing the need of supporters of the incarcerated who needed their own support system, Jolyn created the FOTA Project. Now Jolyn provides emotional counseling for families of people who have been accused of a crime or are currently incarcerated. The core of the FOTA project is providing that shoulder to lean on, a person that is safe to talk to, to support the supporters
She does this through one on one counseling on the phone or video call, providing a curated circle of supports with her support network, and more. She also provides a free e-series for those who aren’t quite ready for one on one support. The 21-day e-series provides tools for self-care and help with anxiety.
This is an amazing program for people who feel drained from carrying a heavy load of anxiety and stress due to their situation. Learn more about it here at https://thefotaproject.org/. Jolyn has been wonderful enough to provide a discount on her services to Life of a Lifer listeners and you can learn more about that here.
Listen to Cecilia of Wife of a Lifer interview Jolyn. Jolyn shares a great tool to help panic attacks and anxiety called the power of three exercises. She goes into more details about her project and the story of how she got where she is today.
View it on YouTube here
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