Risking Connection®: A Training Curriculum for Working with Survivors of Childhood Abuse
Research in the emerging field of traumatology demonstrates that many of our most difficult-to-treat, suicidal, and self-injuring patients have histories of childhood trauma. Understanding the psychological consequences of early trauma, as well as state-of-the art treatment practices, will result in mental health care that is more clinically effective and significantly cost-saving.
By Karen W. Saakvitne, Ph.D.,
Sarah Gamble, Ph.D.
Laurie Anne Pearlman, Ph.D.
Beth Tabor Lev, Ph.D.
A joint venture from the Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute and the Trauma, Research, Education and Training Institute (TREATI) in conjunction with the Mental Health Departments of the States of Maine and New York.
Research in the emerging field of traumatology demonstrates that many of our most difficult-to-treat, suicidal, and self-injuring patients have histories of childhood trauma. Understanding the psychological consequences of early trauma, as well as state-of-the art treatment practices, will result in mental health care that is more clinically effective and significantly cost-saving. Treaters without this education may become discouraged in their attempts to help this group of clients, and may suffer from burnout as a result. This leads to a vicious cycle of high staff turnover rates, increased costs, and more state clients in search of the help they need.
The Sidran Institute, a nonprofit organization devoted to educating professionals about traumatic stress conditions, is pleased to announce the publication of Risking Connection®: A Training Curriculum for Working with Survivors of Childhood Abuse, the only basic trauma training curriculum specially designed for staff in public mental health settings.
Our curriculum was developed by trauma specialists at the Trauma Research, Education, and Training Institute, Inc. (TREATI) of South Windsor, CT with the support of the Departments of Mental Health in the states of Maine and New York. This affordable curriculum is now available to all interested agencies and individuals. It was prepared with editorial and clinical input from helping professionals and trauma survivors with extensive experience in state mental health systems, clinical treatments of traumatic stress conditions, curriculum design, and the law.
Who will benefit from Risking Connection®?
Risking Connection® is useful for all mental health, public health, and substance abuse staff — from inexperienced non-degreed front-line workers to highly trained personnel, mental health, and medical professionals. It is intended for psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, intake workers, case managers, psych techs, and anyone else who interacts with traumatized individuals in mental health treatment.
The 20-hour curriculum is divided into five half-day modules, which are flexible and can be tailored to a particular audience. Although the content is sophisticated, the language is accessible and jargon-free, making the material user-friendly for staff at all levels and disciplines.
Interspersed in this living document are client/treater worksheets as well as assessment, self-reflection, group discussion, and clinical practice exercises. Clinical scenarios bring the material home in a real way. Emphasizing the critical concepts of empowerment and collaboration, Risking Connection® focuses on three major goals:
- A theoretical framework to guide work with survivors of traumatic abuse
- Specific intervention techniques to use with survivor clients; and
- Attention to the internal needs of trauma worker as well as clients
In addition, the curriculum cogently addresses the common questions, concerns, and skepticism about trauma treatment.
Risking Connection® in-depth
The Five Modules outlined in Risking Connection® feature:
Module One: Understanding Trauma is the First Step
- Defines a trauma framework, emphasizing connection and collaboration between treaters and clients and respect and empowerment for survivor clients.
- Summarizes the effects of traumatic events on human development and adaptation.
Module Two: Using Connections to Develop Treatment Goals with Survivor Clients
- The RICH model (Respect/Information/Connection/Hope) is based on a treatment alliance and provides concrete tools to teach clients to safely manage strong feelings and disruptive memories.
- Discusses the treater’s experience of vicarious traumatization and outlines the long-term goals of trauma treatment.
Module Three: Keeping a Trauma Framework When Responding to Crises and Life-Threatening Behaviors
- Defines a crisis intervention model grounded in a trauma framework and appropriate for psychiatric crises and life-threatening behaviors.
- Special focus on suicidal individuals and self-injurious behaviors.
- Includes a 10-step program for crisis intervention, as well as exercises and grounding techniques to teach clients.
Module Four: Working with Dissociation and Staying Grounded: Self-Awareness as a Tool for Clients and Helpers
- Guidelines for working with people who dissociate, including concrete suggestions for helping individuals gain control over their flashbacks.
- A major section on countertransference, outlining common responds to survivor clients and how to use them constructively.
- Creating a support network for treaters and models for clinical supervision.
Module Five: Vicarious Traumatization and Integration: Putting It All Together
- How trauma work can change the treater.
- Worksheets and information on protecting yourself, addressing, and transforming the vicarious traumatization experience.
- Summary and Overview of Curriculum.
As you can see, Risking Connection® is a revolutionary new curriculum that can help you help your clients while protecting yourself and reducing the stress in your workplace.
What People Are Saying about Risking Connection®
“Risking Connection® is a wonderful curriculum for training practitioners at all skill levels for work with survivors of sexual and physical abuse trauma. The beauty of the curriculum lies both in its inherent flexibility, allowing it to be used in a range of settings and formats and in its profound sensitivity to the complex pain experienced by survivors of abuse.”
– Maxine Harris, Ph.D., author of Trauma Recovery and Empowerment: A Clinician’s Guide for Working with Women in Groups
Individual copies of Risking Connection® are affordable at just $75.00 (plus shipping). We are also offering a bulk discount for quantity purchase. If you are a large agency, we will be happy to discuss alternative pricing structures, such as limited licensing for system-wide use.
Course Adoption or Agency Review
If you are considering Risking Connection® for agency-wide use or for course adoption, we will send an examination copy upon request. Please send your written request on agency or department letterhead.
When your agency or university bookstore places its first bulk order of 10 or more, we will refund your original invoice. To qualify for the refund, please fax a copy of the original invoice with a brief note describing the adoption (or include it with your purchase order.) Bulk purchase discounts are available for larger quantities. Please contact Sidran for information on discounts for purchases of 25 or more copies.
A variety of on-site training options are available to support this curriculum. Contact Sidran to discuss the one that is right for your agency. In addition, an intensive “Train the Trainer” program will enable your agency to build the capacity to maintain Risking Connection® competence over time, despite staff and funding changes.
Risking Connection® features:
- Over 40 pages of reproducible clinical forms, client handouts, and worksheets
- Annotated bibliography
Number of Pages: 312
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