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Mental Health Clinician
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Unitas was founded by Dr. Edward Eismann in 1968 when he was a mental health clinician at Lincoln Hospital.
Discouraged by lack of response to formal mental health services for troubled alienated youth within a hospital setting, Eismann took to the streets, formed bonds with these youth on their own streets and hangouts and enlisted their cooperation to become helpers to each other and their neighborhood children. They learned how to become "caretakers" to each other and resolve interpersonal challenges through talk negotiation to replace violent acting out. He created "healing circles" right on the street itselfand then into schools with all youth coming together to reflect on "getting along better with each other and learning how to settle problems peacefully". Dr. Eismann spoke of the origins of Unitas and then engaged the African visitors and other guests from Massachusetts as well as local community representatives here in an Unitas "healing circle" for the sharing of peacemaking stories and strategies for expanding peacemaking efforts of mutual concern to all. Dr. Eismann in early peacemaking session with youth on Fox
The second of the Fordham studies and a publication from the Fordham University Press, (Eismann,E. Unitas: Building Healing Communities for Children, 1985, 1996 second edition), by the founder, Edward P. Eismann, Ph.D., is summarized below.
The three Unitas studies described above -- one, an ethnographic outsider's account, the second, an insider's view by Edward P. Eismann, Ph.D., the founder of Unitas, and the third an experimental evaluation -- form a trilogy providing a comprehensive, multifaceted evaluation of the Unitas experience.
Dr. Edward Eismann, Ph.D.
Founder Dr. Edward Eismann, Ph.D. Clinical Director
Edward P. Eismann, Ph.D. xiii, 214 pp.,
This volume is a look inside the Unitas program provided by its principal participant, Dr. Edward Eismann. Eismann, founder and former director of Unitas, provides the reader with a rich, first-hand account of how he went about mobilizing the youth who would later become the core of this successful program. He also provides some of the ideas in the social sciences and therapeutic literature which influence the shaping of Unitas. UNITAS includes a series of training modules for persons interested in replicating this type of therapeutic program. "Dr. Eismann demonstrates how he first connected with youth in the South Bronx, Dr. Eismann pioneered in adapting services and making them appropriate to the needs of diverse populations.
Dr. Edward Eismann is the creator of Unitas (Unity), a community mental health outreach organization established in the South Bronx in 1967.For the past 35 years, Dr. Eismann has implemented one of the most innovative and successful programs in New York City, a program deeply rooted in the psychological theories of Alfred Adler.Recognizing that many biological families are not able to fulfill important psychological and social roles, Dr. Eismann has set up an alternative family system composed of functioning and dysfunctioning neighborhood youth who work together to build emotional security and community for themselves and each other.