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NYC Public Schools 9-11 Project
“This is groundbreaking training for our school counselors, social workers, and psychologists. It is the first complete protocol for the assessment and treatment of posttraumatic stress in our students and the very best program I have attended in my 30 years of work in mental health at the Department of Education. The participants feel the same.”
     —    Cristina Casanova
             NYC school’s citywide coordinator for professional staff development

New York City school administrators turned to the Sidran Institute to prepare the Department’s psychologists, social workers, and guidance counselors to respond to the growing number of traumatic stress cases among school children as a result of the September 11 tragedy.

Through a grant from the Philip Morris Companies, Sidran provided training to New York City–based mental health professionals in the neighborhoods most affected by the World Trade Center tragedy. Using Sidran’s curriculum Risking Connection as a core, Ricky Greenwald, Psy.D. taught all NYC Board of Education mental health staff to recognize and treat PTSD symptoms in children.

The Risking Connection model armed the department with the tools and skills necessary to provide and sustain services to thousands of affected children—many of whom were already exhibiting signs of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a wide range of trauma-related emotional and behavioral problems, such as
     •    nightmares
     •    acting out
     •    behavior changes


Participants learned:
     •    hands-on skills
     •    how to take better care of themselves
     •    how to avoid burnout

Avoiding and transforming vicarious (secondary) trauma is particularly crucial in a case like this where the providers experienced the same traumatic event as their clients. Attending to self-awareness and self care is a unique aspect and critical feature of the Risking Connection curriculum, which incorporates tools to help clinicians maintain their strength, objectivity, and effectiveness and to reduce the inevitable vicarious trauma they are likely to experience as a result of working closely with many traumatized children.

This program brought Sidran into the forefront of developing and teaching treatment models for traumatized children. Using the practical, relational approach of building RICH (respect, information, connection and hope) relationships between the caregivers and the students, we are able to help reduce the impact of trauma on the children.

The New York City school system is now better prepared to handle trauma cases, and the resulting benefits to the children and their families are immeasurable.
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"We help people understand, recover from, and treat trauma and dissociation"