In 2008, Arlyn Anderson and Marty Barnum founded the first Peer Support and Consultation Project for Interpreters group. They designed PSCPI (known by members as 'Pah! Skippy') to minimize and counteract the effects of occupational stress. At the time, Arlyn was a mental health interpreting consultant and coach at a Deaf services agency with a large interpreting department. There had been a sharp increase in assignments that many interpreters found to be personally challenging. The Director of Interpreting Services had been growing concerned for her team. She was seeing the work take a toll on the health, well-being and effectiveness of individuals, and on the team as a whole. She reached out to Arlyn and Marty and asked them to craft a solution that could help them restore their well-being.
After much discussion, Arlyn and Marty thoughtfully designed PSCPI to incorporate protective factors for professional stress conditions, like vicarious trauma. It was important to encourage both a sense of belonging to a professional network, and to have a learning component. Their aim was for PSCPI to be a vehicle for countering the ways that professional stress can accumulate and constrict self-expression and self-awareness. The first PSCPI group became a supportive consultation group for members that focused on sharing knowledge, increasing self-awareness, self-compassion and self-management. Ultimately, PSCPI does that by first developing community and connection.
Twelve years later, this original group continues and is beloved by members to this day. New members have come and others have moved on, but the good work of PSCPI continues.