about AIR

Resilience is a capacity that can be built.

AIR’s coaching, education, and training focuses on building resilience – which means you’ll learn to recover more quickly and effectively from life’s challenges. Our programs are among the first to actively build and measure resilience, so we know we can help.

AIR Faculty bring the right blend of expertise and perspective. Our coaching and training equips people with the skills they need to live meaningful and engaged lives, which ultimately benefits families, communities and workplaces.

Dr. Jackie Kinley

Jackie Kinley’s expertise in psychiatry and research in resilience was the inspiration behind AIR. Her research focuses on building an individual’s mental strength and well-being.

“Welcome to AIR. I am so excited to share, and empower you, with the insights and know-how you need to strengthen your brain power. I am happy to provide you with the tools you need to positively change the way you think, feel and act so that you can become the best possible you and experience greater happiness and success in your personal and professional lives. Life’s short.. let’s get going!”

AIR Institutes Faculty

Dr. Jackie Kinley

Dr. Jackie Kinley

President & CEO

Andrea Carew

Andrea Carew

AIR Faculty

Heidi Sturgeon

Heidi Sturgeon

AIR Faculty

AIR Institutes Advisors

Gord Cooper

Chief Biz adv

Mike Smith

Chief Financial Adv

Dave Anderson

Chief Technology Adv

Gina Brown

Chief Marketing & Communications Adv

AIR Institutes Office Manager & Operations Lead

Monica Cooke

Monica Cooke

Operations

Our Research

It starts with accurate Measurement

The Resilience Question – AIR is the first of its kind, providing a thorough understanding of your current level of mental fitness based on large-scale research, in combination with our training and development practices.

And ends with proven Results

We start with the positive – finding your natural strengths and abilities. Through a carefully designed series of reflective practices and exercises, we work with you to increase your inner strength and ability to focus on and achieve what matters most to you in life.

Resilience is commonly identified as the ability to bounce back from stress and adversity. In our fast-paced world, stress is inevitable. Our approach to resiliency training is a strength-based model. We build on your strengths by identifying your natural skills and capabilities. By recognizing and increasing your inner strength, resourcefulness, and the ability to intentionally harness and direct your energy and attention, we help you to achieve the things that matter most in life, like family, friends, and your career.

Publications

For those interested in diving more deeply into the neuroscience, these are a few of the articles co-authored by our CEO and founder Dr. Jackie Kinley:

Kinley, J.L., & Reyno, S.M. (2016). Project for a scientific psychiatry: A neurobiologically informed, phasic, brain-based model of integrated psychotherapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 26,61-73.

Kinley, J.L., & Reyno, S.M. (2017). Advancing Freud’s dream; A dynamic-relational neurobiological informed approach to psychotherapy. Neuropsychoanalysis, 19,127-142.

Kinley, J. L., & Reyno, S.M. (2013). Attachment style changes following an intensive short-term group psychotherapy program.International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 63,53-75.

Kinley, J. L., & Reyno, S.M. (2019). The Price of Belonging; Neurobiology of ‘Working Through’ Attachment Trauma.Pending publication in Psychodynamic Psychiatry.

Kinley, J. L., & Reyno, S.M. (2019). Intolerance and Fear of Negative Emotions in Depression.Poster Presentation; Dalhousie University.

Maxan E., Kinley J. L, Williams J., Reyno S. M. (2013). Intensive group psychotherapy: Fostering resilience in patients with axis I and axis II disorders. The International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 15, 121-130.

“Relationships can be utilized to help stabilize and normalize the dysfunctional limbic activation (sympathetic arousal) and cortical-limbic disintegration observed in mental illness.”

Foundations of Resilience

Our neural networks shape our experience of emotion. Conscious processing of emotion (linking emotions with bodily states/naming emotions), and modification through reappraisal (e.g., embracing more positive interpretations) have a ‘top-down’ and ‘right-left’ modulating effect serving to regulate, modulate or dampen affective responses. Conscious and balanced processing allows the individual to better influence/regulate and respond to emotional states. Effective problem solving/adaptive functioning requires both emotional regulation and cognitive flexibility. Negative emotions that are repeatedly activated (prolonged, undifferentiated physiological activation), but not consciously processed (linked with an emotional state) and modulated, may be experienced as distressing somatic symptoms and contribute to low resilience, physical health concerns, learning dysfunctions and memory concerns.

Emotional Intelligence & Resilience

A major contributor to mental health problems is the struggle to understand, tolerate and regulate emotions. Abnormal limbic (i.e., subcortical), cortical and frontolimbic activation and integration underlie problems with emotions generation and regulation.

Neuroplasticity and Resilience

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change under specific conditions (for better or for worse). It is the process of growing new neurons, strengthening synaptic connections, myelinating pathways, which results in faster processing, creating and altering brain structure and circuitry, and organizing and re-organizing functions of brain structures.

The brain is shaped by experience. And because we have a choice about what experiences we want to use to shape our brain, we have a responsibility to choose the experiences that will shape the brain toward the wise and the wholesome.
-Richard J. Davidson, PhD

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a neurotrophin that mediates the survival, differentiation and outgrowth of selected neurons during development. The accumulated evidence implicates BDNF as a critical mediator of activity-dependent neuronal plasticity.

Balancing Neural Networks

Emotional processing causes changes at the synapse which are hypothesized to activate cellular cascades that upregulate BDNF expression, leading to neuronal sprouting and synaptic plasticity. Normalization of the subcortical and cortical networks involved in emotional processing represents an important goal in creating resilient individuals and improving mental health. Relationships can be utilized to help stabilize and normalize the dysfunctional limbic activation (sympathetic arousal) and cortical-limbic disintegration observed in mental illness. It is theorized that this results in neural integration which occurs at a deep, structural level resulting in changes in the brain. As this is accomplished individuals are able to access and experience emotion resulting in “breakthroughs”, allowing them to access previously unknown or unconscious insight, strengths and resources, providing access to opportunities to change and grow through life’s challenges.

Context Can Accelerate

Under certain conditions, neuroplastic change is stimulated. Groups serve to accelerate this emotional work and to consolidate insights, resulting in corresponding changes in behaviour thereby improving participant resilience and strengthening mental fitness promoting health and preventing illness. Consolidating the link between the physiological component of emotional experience and the conscious or explicit component (i.e., cognitive representations of emotions) requires both ‘top down’ and ‘bottom-up’ techniques. The presence of a group amplifies the subcortical, physiological experience of emotion by encouraging and facilitating exposure to a range of feelings, while group cohesion (attuned, supportive responses characterized by empathic validation) help contain and regulate anxiety. This provides the ideal context for active attempts at reflective awareness and modulation (through balanced activation of the prefrontal cortex decreasing right-biased activation). Essentially the group helps activate and scaffold participant’s regulation capacities, in effect ‘jump starting’ the attachment and resilience networks in the brain. When individuals are safely engaged, change can occur. Resilient, emotionally competent, individuals are better equipped to respond, rather than react, when under pressure. Oxytocin, a mammalian neurohypophysical hormone produce by the hypothalamus, acts as a neuromodulator in the brain and can calm a panic attack in less than a minute.

Why AIR?

Our Vision

To transform the landscape of mental health.

Our Mission

To empower individuals, organizations and communities by providing them with the knowledge and skills required to create healthy, living & sustainable cultures.

Our Philosophy

Air® Institutes is a company with a social vision. We aspire to work with communities and organizations to deliver services that impact the world positively. As a for profit company, we hold ourselves to high ethical standards and aspire to use our profits and research to benefit the world to the greatest extent possible.

Why AIR Matters

Our society needs to see possibility, sense hope, feel optimism, and achieve relief. We all need to be able to perform to the best of our ability to be meaningfully engaged and equipped to face the challenges of life in our times. Our services provide an environment to facilitate these needs; we care about our individual’s success and well-being and provide the best possible service for our clients. Air® inspires individuals to become more fully present and involved with life so that they can live happier and healthier.

AIR Head Office

The Atlantic Institute for Resilience

5943 Spring Garden Rd.

Halifax, NS, B3H 1Y4

Phone: 902.404.3768

Email: office@air-institutes.com