Trauma Center Workshops

The Trauma Center at JRI offers a variety of workshops designed to provide professional support and advanced, hands-on learning opportunities for clinicians and other providers working with children and adults who have experienced trauma. Workshops provide state-of-the-art information about key topics in the field of traumatic stress, integrating innovative and well-established practices and areas of exploration. Topics vary each year, and we welcome suggestions for new presenters and areas of focus.

The Trauma Center at JRI works with all contracting agencies to adapt training content to the needs of the agency, program, or system of care. TC-JRI faculty members are able to provide training on a wide range of topics relevant to trauma-informed care in child-, adult-, and family-serving systems. Following are frequently provided training offerings.

Impact of Trauma on Development

Goal: To expose participants to the ways in which trauma experienced at various points in development may shape developmental pathways, with a goal of building understanding of child/adolescent/adult needs and improving effective service delivery.

Content and Methods: This training will provide an overview of the developmental impact of chronic trauma, particularly as trauma exposures intersect with overlapping community-based and intergenerational traumatic stressors. Seminar will include an introduction to the complex trauma framework, and an overview of key process issues including impact across the lifespan, functional domains of impairment, and survival-based adaptations to traumatic stress. Distressing symptoms and behaviors will be re-framed to emphasize child, adult, and family adaptation to overwhelming life circumstance. Core underlying vulnerabilities such as difficulty with self-regulation and difficulty forming healthy attachment relationships will be emphasized, with a brief discussion of best-practice treatment approaches.

The Neurobiology of Trauma LAMP Training

Goals: The purpose of LAMP (Law Enforcement, Advocates, Mental Health Professionals, & Prosecutors) is to increase participants understanding of the impact of trauma on the brain and biology, and to increase awareness of physiological processes in trauma survivors’ presentation and challenges. A primary goal of this training is to use knowledge gained on the neurobiology of trauma to inform effective approaches for working with survivors of trauma in the direct aftermath of a traumatic event, such as a sexual assault or domestic violence incident.

Content and Methods:Content and Methods: This training session is designed for a range of professionals who work with survivors of trauma including mental health professionals, advocates, law enforcement officers, and prosecutors. The content of this training includes; information on the definition, prevalence, and facts on the characteristics of sexual assault and interpersonal violence; functions of brain areas that are involved in responding to traumatic events; how the brain and body respond to traumatic events; the influence of traumatic events on memory processes; common emotional and behavioral responses to trauma; and how to effectively work with trauma survivors. Distressing symptoms and behaviors will be re-framed to emphasize how individuals adapt to overwhelming stress. The personal impact of working with survivors of trauma, including vicarious and secondary trauma, will also be discussed. A case vignette will be used to support learning of concepts presented, along with video clips and group based discussion.

The Developmental & Neurobiological Impact of Child Maltreatment & Abuse

Goals: To expose participants to the ways in which trauma experienced at various points in development may shape developmental pathways, with a goal of building understanding of child and/or adult needs and improving effective service delivery. To increase participants understanding of the impact of trauma on brain and biology, and to increase awareness of physiological processes in client presentation and challenges.

Content and Methods:This training session will provide an overview of the developmental impact of chronic childhood trauma, including definition and prevalence of child trauma; understanding of long-term consequences; an introduction to the complex trauma framework; and an overview of key process issues including developmental stage, the attachment system, functional domains of impairment, and alternative adaptations. Distressing symptoms and behaviors will be re-framed to emphasize child and family adaptation to overwhelming life circumstance. Core underlying vulnerabilities such as difficulty with self-regulation and difficulty forming healthy attachment relationships will be emphasized over diagnostic/pathology-based formulations. This workshop will also discuss the effects of trauma on the brain, on the immune system, on health care utilization, and on attentional issues. Neuroanatomical and physiological impact will be linked to behavioral presentation.

Vicarious Traumatization, Secondary Trauma, and Self-Care for Service Providers

Goal: To improve participants' ability to identify and address the personal and professional impact of working with persons affected by developmental trauma.

Content and Methods:Vicarious traumatization is a process by which the inner experience of the professional becomes transformed as a result of exposure to the traumatic material of the clients we serve. Professionals who work with abused and neglected children/adults/families are exposed to stressors which have the potential to impact perceptions of self, others, safety, trust, intimacy, and meaning-making. Over the long-term, the impact of vicarious traumatization may lead to demoralization, burnout, and increased staff turnover. This interactive workshop will address the experience of vicarious traumatization, including definition, origins, and ways to recognize signs of VT, as well as ways to prevent, address, and re-connect to the factors which allow us to sustain ourselves in the work. Note: In addition to format described above, this workshop will include opportunities for self-assessment of vicarious trauma as well as compassion satisfaction using structured evaluation measures, and will include small-group exercises and discussion of key concepts.

Assessment of Childhood or Adulthood Trauma

Goal: Goal: To improve awareness of the goals, process, and methods of clinical trauma evaluation for children or adults exposed to abuse, neglect, and other childhood adversities.

Content and Methods: The impact of trauma on children and families is complex, and effective and individually tailored service provision requires individualized clinical assessment of needs and strengths. This workshop will provide an overview of clinical child trauma assessment, including the goals of the evaluation process, differences between clinical trauma assessment and forensic/investigative child abuse evaluation, process of trauma evaluation, and red flags for when and how to refer a child for a specialized trauma evaluation. Participants will discuss how the assessment process translates into tailored service delivery.

Systemic and Milieu Approaches to Treatment of Traumatic Stress

Goal: To expand participant's awareness of complexity of experience for children, families and their larger systems within the community, and to improve effective services within milieu treatment settings.

Content and Methods: Children who have experienced trauma are frequently provided services within substitute systems of care, including residential treatment settings, the foster care system, and specialized group settings. These systems have the potential to play an integral role in the (re-)establishment of safety and in the healing process, yet limited attention is often given to the role of the system as a primary collaborator in the intervention and recovery process. This workshop will emphasize the importance of intervention across caregiving systems, and will discuss translation of key trauma treatment factors within milieu settings. Emphasis will be placed on the role of healthy attachment within caregiving systems, and ways to support these systems in provision of safe and stable environments for children exposed to trauma.

School-Based Approaches to Treatment of Traumatic Stress

Goal: To expand participant’s awareness of the impact of complex trauma on children and families, and to improve effective services within schools to identify symptoms of trauma, respond to symptoms through a trauma-informed lens, and create systemic interventions to promote resilience in children with traumatic stress.

Content and Methods: Schools have the potential to play an integral role in the (re-)establishment of safety and in the healing process for children who have experienced trauma. Specialized attention should be focused on the role of the school system as a primary factor in the intervention and recovery process. This workshop will emphasize, within the school setting, the ways in which to identify trauma symptoms, respond using trauma-informed approaches, and strategies to systemically promote the healing and wellness of students who have experienced trauma. Emphasis will be placed on the role of healthy attachments within the school setting, ways to support schools in the provision of a safe and stable environment, methods of promoting student regulation throughout the school day, and working with students to develop a positive sense of self.

Collaborative Intervention with Caregivers of Traumatized Children

Goal: To improve participants’ ability to build effective and collaborative treatment teams with caregivers of traumatized children.

Content and Methods: Service provision is most effective when services are provided and planned for by a unified and collaborative team. The caregivers of traumatized children are perhaps the key contributors on any treatment team, and engagement and support of these caregivers is crucial to effective and sustainable change. This workshop will discuss factors which both hinder and increase engagement of caregivers. Key issues including parental trauma history, systemic mistrust, the role of the attachment system, cultural factors, individual differences in parenting style, and the role of a therapeutic alliance will be discussed. A variety of scenarios and concrete techniques will be provided.

Overview of Trauma Treatment

Goal: To increase participants’ awareness and understanding of the goals and process of trauma treatment.

Content and Methods: Individuals who have experienced abuse, neglect, familial and community violence, along with many other traumatic stressors frequently display an array of distressing symptoms and behaviors. Trauma-informed treatment which emphasizes restoration of developmental competencies, stabilization of distressing symptoms, and building of key coping skills can significantly increase resilient outcome. This workshop will provide an overview of the goals and process of trauma-informed treatment. Discussion will include when and how to refer a client for services; contraindications to treatment focused on trauma processing; and distinctions between general treatment and trauma-informed therapy.

Evidence-Based Practices for Child Trauma Treatment

Goal: To increase participants awareness and understanding of the array of evidence-based practices for children and families exposed to trauma, and to increase informed service referral.

Content and Methods: Within the mental health field, increasing emphasis has been placed on evidence-based practice (EBP). However, not all evidence-based treatments are appropriate for all children. This workshop will describe the construct of “evidence-based practice”; will provide an overview of current evidence-based practices for children exposed to both acute and chronic traumas; and will discuss appropriate matching of child needs to treatment goals.

Parenting a Traumatized Child

Goal: To increase understanding of underlying factors which lead to challenges in parenting a trauma-impacted child, and to provide concrete strategies for addressing needs and building competencies among children who have experienced trauma.

Content and Methods: Caring for a traumatized child can be extremely rewarding, yet the significant needs and distress of children with chronic trauma exposures and previous attachment losses are often challenging. It is not uncommon for caregivers to feel overwhelmed and helpless in the face of child behaviors and symptoms. This workshop is designed for individuals providing care to children who have experienced trauma. The workshop will emphasize strategies for building safe attachments; managing distressing child behaviors; increasing positive caregiver-child interactions; and increasing caregiver support and distress tolerance. Emphasis will be placed in restoration of positive experiences and healthy development, and the vital role that the caregiving system plays in supporting such development in children.

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