What is Training?

Since 1989, Innovative Alternatives has been training mediators in some of the most cutting edge applications and components of mediation on the market today. This training is appropriate for enhancing one’s personal skills in conflict resolution and assisting others in resolving conflicts productively.

Continuing Education

We provide continuing education credits for LPCs, LMFTs, LMSWs, attorneys and nurses. For more information regarding these courses call us at 713.222.2525 or email Anthony Gress at agress@innovativealternatives.org.

Below is a list of our trainings:

Mediation Training

Myth Busters! Multicultural Mediation

Full-day Training for up to 100 participants. This is a laboratory in which every person is simultaneously a student and professor, in order to teach one another about various aspects of their own culture. This very fun and interesting day explores in a safe process, a variety of cultural aspects as requested by the host organization, but most frequently requested are gender, age, ethnicity and exploration of stereotypes regarding roles in the workplace between administrators and employees. However, this is a powerful way for police and community to connect, to destroy stereotypes and to set the stage for community policing. For immigrant parents and their first-generation American children to explore what it is like for the kids to walk in two worlds, while their parents and grandparents to try to hang onto and fear the loss of the traditions of their countries and cultures of origin. IA has also used this process to examine stereotypes between authorities, gangs and social workers. Any aspect of diversity or cultural difference is eligible for exploration and in gaining increased understanding that we are all just people with hopes and dreams who want to become known

Basic 40-Hour Mediation Training

Certificate course that allows you to mediate a variety of relational conflict, as long as the custody and care of minors is not involved as issues for resolution which requires an advanced course. Landlord/tenant, business disputes, neighbors, dorm-mates, etc. This training also makes an exceptional leadership training according to Shirley Neeley, former Commissioner of Education under George W. Bush, who purchased this training for all her administrative personnel, principals and assistant principals while superintendent of Galena Park School District. At IA’s 15th anniversary in 2004, she stated as our keynote speaker, “It is undoubtedly the best leadership training I ever received and was the skill that helped me get things done between the democrats and republicans for the children of Texas.”

Family Reconciliation & Intervention Training:

This 32-hour certificate course allows you to mediate couples trying to save their marriages, generational family disputes, and eldercare/guardianship disputes; as well as to assist families that are trying to persuade an individual family member to seek treatment for their substance abuse, mental health or volatility issues to allow for happier and safer relationships. This mediation model is unique to Innovative Alternatives, Inc.

Workplace Mediation: Personnel Grievance & Multi-party Mediation Training

Certificate course—32 hrs. Workplace conflict is as common as family conflict and in fact, coworkers are often like family or at least around one another as much. This certification course will teach you how to resolve one-on-one, as well as multi-party conflicts. Additionally, IA has created a process that uses a multi-party mediation model to create and maintain a positive work environment or to intervene in one that has already become negative due to the influence of one or two divisive people who can ruin a functioning organizational work culture in any setting—workplace, school, church or community organization. Ideal for HR Professionals and Administrators of any organization.

Divorce & Custody Mediation Training:

Innovative Alternatives uses a unique model of divorce and custody mediation that allows people to have an optional stage to attempt reconciliation of the marriage if either or both people are ambivalent about going forward with divorce. Even if marriages can’t be saved, people come to some closure, feeling they have tried all there is to try and have decided to end it together rather than one person making the decision for both of them. Regardless of how common divorce is in this nation, when the family separation is yours, it is not an everyday occurrence. It is the severing of a part of oneself; and children experience it without the emotional or mental maturity to understand or to navigate it. Parents in their own pain can forget the experience of their children. You can at least help people minimize the pain to some extent by giving them a process in which they can work together to prepare and spare the family from the war and destruction that occurs from escalation of conflict. Divorce is the death of dreams for the future that people once had together. Help couples decide property, custody, visitation schedules, parenting norms, discipline plans for separate households and how new relationships will enter and function in their children’s lives. People may divorce from their marriage, but they never divorce as parents. Learn how to help in this advanced, 32-hr certificate course.

Business Training

Avoiding Compassion Fatigue & Burn-Out

When we focus on others without practicing self-care, destructive emotions and behaviors can surface in both workgroups and at home in our families, accompanied by a long list of symptoms associated with a secondary traumatic stress disorder now labeled: Compassion Fatigue. While the effects of Compassion Fatigue can cause pain and suffering, learning to recognize and manage its symptoms is the first step toward healing. Ignoring or remaining unaware can lead to burn-out and ultimately ill-informed decisions made from a place of desperation to reduce the stress.
– This training focuses on how to identify and prevent compassion fatigue in individuals, a team and in the work environment as a whole. A combination of didactic education, use of assessments and group exercises are used to recognize the symptoms, and to share coping strategies about how reduce them. Participants gain awareness of self-care techniques that help prevent compassion fatigue and allow them to become more productive at work and home.

Building Better Relationships in the Workplace—Communication & Conflict Resolution Skills Training

is essential to every organization. Each of us can learn to present important and/or difficult information in a manner that is either constructive or destructive (emotional and attacking) to others. There are also times we find ourselves in the presence of someone who is emotional and attacking toward us. Our response can either escalate or de-escalate the situation—even in many cases when someone is out of touch with reality. We need to learn the techniques that either give our power away or allow us to maintain whatever control we can possibly have in sometimes very threatening situations. Learn how in this essential workshop. Success in all life endeavors depends upon how well we get along with others, surviving a threatening situation does as well.

Communication and Decision Making

Having effective communication in the workplace is the cornerstone of establishing trust among individuals and within teams; contributing significantly to productivity gains in performance. In this communication portion of the workshop, we examine the importance of effective interactions and how to improve them in the workplace.
Research in psychology has revealed that our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities: We are overconfident. We seek out information that supports our beliefs and downplay information that doesn’t. We get distracted by short-term emotions. When it comes to making choices, it seems, our brains are flawed instruments. In the later portion of this workshop, we look at becoming more aware of these challenges and discover strategies for making better decisions.

Creating & Maintaining a Positive Work Culture

This is a facilitated process that empowers members of teams to determine their own guidelines—called Team Norms–for their future interactions that both create and protect a positive work culture on continuum in four areas:

1) Customer Service—How do we want the public to think of the service we deliver? What do we want to be known for when people talk about us?

2) Teamwork—What does this mean to us? What does it look like in practice? What do we pledge to do for one another, or to NEVER say to one another?

3) Communication—What guidelines do we wish to make to keep our communication efficient, effective and constructive?

4) Conflict Resolution—What behaviors do we pledge to hold one another accountable to on our team in order to create and protect our positive work environment from negativity and divisiveness?

– This is an amazing multi-party mediation process that culminates into a written agreement within the team. IA has used it for decades to both intervene in on-going conflicts within or between departments or teams or full organizations and/or but better yet, to prevent such negativity from ever developing. This saves time, energy and money for every organization, not to mention reducing turn-over, improving employee satisfaction and productivity. In a nutshell, leadership can empower employees to use positive peer pressure to hold one another accountable to ‘being good’ employees. Employees perceive management as fairer and have higher job satisfaction. No progressive discipline is lost or replaced, but new, informal, yet more constructive levels are put into place before managerial intervention is necessary. Your job as a leader gets easier! You can focus on the work and not the drama among the workers-they become responsible for themselves. Service components:

– Two to four hours for leadership if a districtwide consideration is made to implement this strategy among teams.

– Three to four hours for completion of Team Norms within teams of <10. Teams of >10 may take multiple sessions on different dates to complete. This is an excellent workshop to combine with the 4-hour version of ‘Building Better Relationships in the Workplace’.

– Intervention in teams with active or long-standing conflict may take longer, but estimates are given after assessment.

Customer Service

Excellent customer service is the ability of an organization to constantly and consistently exceed the customer’s expectations. Improving customer service involves making a commitment to learning what our customers’ need and want and developing action plans to implement customer friendly processes. This training includes strategies for providing improved customer service to both your internal customers (colleagues) and to your external customers (clients, students, etc). A combination of lecture and experiential activities are used to present the communication and problem-solving skills needed to provide excellent customer service. The kind that boosts the organization’s image within a community, increases the teamwork of coworkers and improves the effectiveness and efficiency of the services you provide.

Leadership versus Management

Examines the difference between the two concepts. Do you know how to draw the best performance from others or relay most heavily on directive to do so? If the latter, do you frequently wonder about the reasons many of your immediate reports do not use their own judgement and wait for you to make all the decisions? Ever feel more like a parent than a leader? You can only change you, we can never change others, but our change causes change in them. These and the following concepts are examined and discussed, as well as a look at what is needed to create a positive work culture in which coworkers assist leadership in holding one another accountable to best performance.
o Employee relationship and team building
o Micromanagement vs. enhancement of teamwork and creativity
o Verbal and written interactions
o Employee feedback & evaluations
o Corrective disciplinary action
o The mid-manager dilemma
o Getting the most from your teams
o Available interventions in employee conflict
– Managers can also submit specific questions, request inclusion of other topics or state their desire for emphasis on any of the above areas, directly to sbayus@innovativealternatives.org and the identity of the questioner is kept anonymous if desired. The remainder of the day is spent addressing manager’s questions and/or demonstrations and role-plays of simulated meetings with employees to address situations listed in the bullets above.

Practicing Mindfulness in the Workplace

This workshop has both didactic and experiential components and helps participants gain an understanding of how practicing mindfulness can improve the quality of their interactions in their work environment, with both co-workers and the clients or customers they serve. Through experiential art & group activities participants learn to practice skills to integrate into their way of being and interacting with the world around them; thus, empowering them to become a positive force in their workplace.

Responding Appropriately to Button Pushing

Every experience and every person in your life can produce growth, learning, and expansion—or keep you stuck in frustration. This is hard to believe, especially from a person who pushes your buttons and ‘makes you’ feel like pulling your hair out. People who rub you the wrong way, whether at home, work, or elsewhere and create a sense of stress or frustration are not so easy to tolerate. Who wants to recognize, let alone handle, what they bring to our experience? However, they are your buttons, and you are responsible for what you do once they are pushed. Yes, those reactions are showing parts of yourself that you choose not to acknowledge. The problem is that if you continue to remain blind to what they are reflecting in you, then these same reactions continue to show up in your life, either in a different person or situation. It’s quite simple to ignore these people or avoid them, unless and until you must work with them on a regular basis, as either coworkers or customers in your line of work. So, what do you do? How do you handle them? In this workshop, we look at what you can do to change your own experience of these people, even if they never change.

Safety First

This presentation examines how employees can best remain safe during workplace violence. Topics covered include 1) A review of the highest risk professions; 2) Protocols for preparing for, and responding to, various situations of aggression; 3) The most common types of workplace violence; 4) Definitions and demonstrations of aggressive behaviors; and finally, 5) recommended reactions to various scenarios of aggression. Products available for safety (with nothing for sale) are also examined for both personal and organizational safety.

Team Building

Fostering teamwork is creating a work culture that values collaboration and efficient problem-solving. In a team environment, people understand and believe that thinking, planning, decisions, and actions are better when done cooperatively and everyone acts to support one another proactively. Throughout this workshop, we address the challenges of working cooperatively and engage in activities that allow the participants the opportunity to interact with one another in ways that promote group cohesion for the purpose of improving relationships and productivity. We also focus on ‘Critical Thinking’ and its importance to teamwork.

School Training

Building Classroom Norms for Self-Regulation of Behavior in Students

Are we teaching students to self-regulate or are we only regulating them and then when we are not around to keep them in line, they get themselves in horrible fixes, because they’ve never had to exercise judgement? Students usually hate rules—unless they have buy-in to their creation and enforcement. We have to get them to conclude that rules are needed and to make an agreement and commitment to one another to hold each other accountable to the kind of classroom experience they wish to have—within reason of course, while learning the subject at hand. Often, students create rules and consequences that are stricter than any the adults in their lives would impose. By doing so, we teach children about self-control, teamwork, cooperation, problem-solving, governance, leadership, collaboration and community. All areas very important to life and success. Teacher will learn facilitation skills and stages important to development of written classroom norms of behavior.

Bullying - understanding bullying dynamics and what we can do about them

Bullying is a complex social and emotional problem impacting children and adults in both schools and work environments. In extreme cases, victims face shooting, physical assaults or other harassment that may cause them to turn to suicide. This training includes information on causes and dynamics of bullying along with strategies for addressing bullying on both the student and adult levels. A socio-ecological approach is necessary to shift power to the caring majority and away from those who bully. This approach considers the complex interactions among members of the school community and their environment. The goals are to decrease bullying behavior, increase student and faculty intervention in bullying behavior and increase caring/inclusive behavior so that vulnerable children are not left alone as easy targets. A combination of lecture, audio-visual and experiential activities are used to present the awareness and problem-solving skills needed to deal with bullying behavior.

Domestic Violence, Threat Assessment and Threat Approaches

This workshop covers the problem of domestic violence, its impact on children’s behavior, Threat Assessments, intervention and reporting responsibilities and treatment approaches to domestic violence. Trainers spend a good deal of time on the impact of domestic violence and the trauma on the juvenile’s reactions to authority, tendencies to offend others as a means of processing their own emotions and trauma, referral interventions needed for recovery and success in the school system, and the importance of the relationship with safe authority figures. The trauma of domestic violence is as severe on a child as if they were the direct object of abuse and is a strong predictor of both future victimization throughout life as well as involvement with criminal justice systems. Needed skills training to assist children in having a constructive voice about what is occurring in their home, rather than acting out the violence on themselves or other children is essential to breaking these severe and too often, generational patterns.

Listening so Teens Can & Will Talk

As adults who are educating and overseeing the children of our communities, our strongest and perhaps least used asset in getting a teen to talk is our ability to listen. Most of us hardly listen and are ready to spout our own wisdom as soon as the teen stops talking—often before they stop. Tapping into the simple steps which foster optimal listening skills not only results in profound change in the teen but ultimately enhances all of our relationships and models healthy ones for child’s future as well.

Recognizing Mental Health Issues in Minors

This workshop covers a variety of mental, behavioral and emotional health issues that impact a child’s functioning and success in life. The workshop touches on the impact of abuse, neglect, exploitation and the resulting trauma on a child’s reactions to authority, tendencies to offend others, referral interventions needed for recovery and success, importance of the relationship with authority figures and provides open discuss and role-play of various scenarios frequently encountered by teachers/counselors in the course of their work. It spends the majority of time, however, in examination of developmental disorders, substance abuse disorders, behavioral disorders, mood disorders and early signs of more serious mental illness such as personality disorders and psychotic disorders (though professionals cannot diagnose many of these until the child is 17 years of age). The role of anger and how youth ‘act it out’ is also examined. Question and answer and discussion of the impact of parental mental health issues is also included. Strategies for effective engagement, reasoning and methods for de-escalation and motivating these students for success whenever possible are discussed.
– Recognition and referral to appropriate resources, rather than use of discipline alone is essential to assist these children and their families who are also likely struggling with their behavior, if not contributing to it. Once a serious mental illness is carried into adulthood, the person and family bearing it becomes the problem of society in homelessness, criminal activity and perpetual abuse of others to them as well. We can begin to stem the tide of the mental health crisis in America by making appropriate referrals of children and families who are suffering while they are young.

Recognizing Trauma Symptoms in Children & Adolescents

Children do not ‘talk it out’ they ‘act it out. We have to stay in tuned to what they are trying to tell us through their play and behavior in general. Has your child begun acting differently all of a sudden? Are they regressing to earlier stages of development? These, among others are often signs of trauma—not always from abuse, but possibly from bullying in school, a divorce, a family death or that of a beloved pet or friend. We never want to punish our children in school or at home for hurts they are already feeling from other causes, but if you are not personally prepared to watch for these signs, you may do so unintentionally, by simply misinterpreting these signs as misbehavior.

Responding Appropriately to Button Pushing

Every experience and every person in your life can produce growth, learning, and expansion—or keep you stuck in frustration. This is hard to believe, especially from a person who pushes your buttons and ‘makes you’ feel like pulling your hair out. People who rub you the wrong way, whether at home, work, or elsewhere and create a sense of stress or frustration are not so easy to tolerate. Who wants to recognize, let alone handle, what they bring to our experience? However, they are your buttons, and you are responsible for what you do once they are pushed. Yes, those reactions are showing parts of yourself that you choose not to acknowledge. The problem is that if you continue to remain blind to what they are reflecting in you, then these same reactions continue to show up in your life, either in a different person or situation. It’s quite simple to ignore these people or avoid them, unless and until you must work with them on a regular basis, as either coworkers or customers in your line of work. So, what do you do? How do you handle them? In this workshop, we look at what you can do to change your own experience of these people, even if they never change.

Teen Suicide: Prevention and Intervention

This training addresses the difficult topic of suicide, which is undoubtedly the greatest of challenges faced as mental healthcare providers, educators and parents. This workshop examines the demographics, prevalence, risk factors, personal characteristics and school system characteristics of juvenile suicides. We also review recommended policies for suicide prevention in schools. Evaluating an adolescent’s risk of self-harm is crucial in determining treatment needs. A clinical interview and psychological evaluation is a valuable to tool for assessing risk.
The approach and engagement in the clinical interview for creating a safe and trusting environment is extraordinarily important in determining the vulnerability of a person in crisis in the present and/or the potential risk for suicidal attempts in the immediate future. Ascertaining the difference between suicidal ideation and suicidal intention, gaining agreement to ‘No Harm’ contracts, knowing when to transport to a hospital or to refer for professional evaluation for possible psychotropic medications and engaging parental or guardian cooperation are all critical issues for intervention.
We listen to testimonials from suicide survivors who were able to successfully reengage in life, and to create a life with an investment in really living. Professionals also share testimonials about their direct experiences in losing clients to suicide, and we learn how to best support each other in the aftermath of a completed suicide. This training also seeks to provide a safe space and therapeutically supportive environment for attendees to share their own experiences with suicidality in their places of work and/or families.

Trust-Based Relational Intervention

TBRI is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI uses ‘Empowering Principles’ to address physical needs, ‘Connecting Principles’ for attachment needs, and ‘Correcting Principles’ to disarm fear-based behaviors. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscientific research, the heartbeat of TBRI is connection and is designed for children from “hard places” such as abuse, neglect, and/or trauma. Children from hard places need caregiving that meets their unique needs, and which addresses the whole child.

Understanding Cutting and Self-Harm

This workshop centers on understanding and responding to cutting and self-harm. Self-harm is a way of expressing and dealing with deep distress and emotional pain. As counterintuitive as it may sound to those on the outside, hurting oneself may make one feel better. In fact, self-injury is often the only coping skill one has in dealing with feelings like sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, and rage. The problem is that the relief that comes from self-harming doesn’t last very long. It also creates its own problems such as secrecy, shame and isolation, which then negatively affects one’s relationships, creating a downward spiral of loneliness, worthlessness and helplessness. Recognition of cutting for psychological reasons versus cutting to belong as a fad, are explored and appropriate interventions are discussed.

What is a Family to do? —Mental or Relational Illness in the Family

Do you have a prodigal child? One that runs away, is defiant, can’t follow the rules? Do you have someone who’s moods change like the weather, who can’t seem to understand how they impact other people, but always feels like a victim of others themselves? Is there someone who struggles with addiction, hearing voices, anger or other risk-taking behavior? If so, you may be seeing the signs of an untreated and/or self-medicated mental health issue and all the family consequences that come in its wake. Maybe you already know this but can’t keep the adult child, spouse or parent compliant with their medication and the behavior is so erratic it worries you what they might do to themselves or others. The news reporters always say, “Why didn’t the family do something? Surely they saw what was happening—why didn’t they get them any help?” We know why, because we have a mental health crisis in this country and even when you are determined to get someone the help they need, it is very difficult and the obstacles are many—not the least of which is the fact that if they do not function well in society, they do not work and likely have no insurance benefits. There is the societal stigma. The choices are bleak if you don’t know how to navigate

Peer Mediation &/or Bully-Proofing Programs & Training

IA can either do al-a-cart trainings on these topics or implement full programs on a classroom, campus or district basis as desired. Practically, the Bully-Proofing Programs are much more effective when delivered campus-wide, because the goal is to create ‘a caring culture’ that does not allow mistreatment of any person—student or school personnel.

Building Better Relationships in Schools Training

Communication & Conflict Resolutions Skills for students at their own developmental levels.

Professional Development Training

LPC Supervision Course

The 40-hr course required to certify LPC’s to supervise clinical interns—pre- or post-graduate level in order to achieve their licensure. Covers the phases of supervision, techniques, rights of supervisees, approaches, documentation, and other topic areas needed for exceptional supervision skills. Taught by Sharon Bayus, MA, LPC-S and Lee Cox, Ph. D, LPC-S.

Christian Counseling

Are you a Christian and a Counselor, but never had any formal training on combining the two? This training is for you if you feel called to also assist people with the spiritual damage they may have suffered, either in personal trauma or as a result of church teaching. Trauma tends to cause damage to how the individual views themselves and their competency, in relationships–how they can or cannot trust others, and in spiritual damage and relationship with God—why did He let this happen to me? Can I still trust Him? Does He even exist because He is not answering my prayers? Learn to ethically offer a Christian Counseling format in your practice.

Avoiding Compassion Fatigue & Burn-Out

When we focus on others without practicing self-care, destructive emotions and behaviors can surface in both workgroups and at home in our families, accompanied by a long list of symptoms associated with a secondary traumatic stress disorder now labeled: Compassion Fatigue. While the effects of Compassion Fatigue can cause pain and suffering, learning to recognize and manage its symptoms is the first step toward healing. Ignoring or remaining unaware can lead to burn-out and ultimately ill-informed decisions made from a place of desperation to reduce the stress. This training focuses on how to identify and prevent compassion fatigue in individuals, a team and in the work environment as a whole. A combination of didactic education, use of assessments and group exercises are used to recognize the symptoms, and to share coping strategies about how reduce them. Participants gain awareness of self-care techniques that help prevent compassion fatigue and allow them to become more productive at work and home.

Domestic Violence, Threat Assessment and Threat Approaches

This workshop covers the problem of domestic violence, its impact on children’s behavior, Threat Assessments, intervention and reporting responsibilities and treatment approaches to domestic violence. Trainers spend a good deal of time on the impact of domestic violence and the trauma on the juvenile’s reactions to authority, tendencies to offend others as a means of processing their own emotions and trauma, referral interventions needed for recovery and success in the school system, and the importance of the relationship with safe authority figures. The trauma of domestic violence is as severe on a child as if they were the direct object of abuse and is a strong predictor of both future victimization throughout life as well as involvement with criminal justice systems. Needed skills training to assist children in having a constructive voice about what is occurring in their home, rather than acting out the violence on themselves or other children is essential to breaking these severe and too often, generational patterns.

Recognizing Mental Health Issues in Minors

This workshop covers a variety of mental, behavioral and emotional health issues that impact a child’s functioning and success in life. The workshop touches on the impact of abuse, neglect, exploitation and the resulting trauma on a child’s reactions to authority, tendencies to offend others, referral interventions needed for recovery and success, importance of the relationship with authority figures and provides open discuss and role-play of various scenarios frequently encountered by teachers/counselors in the course of their work. It spends the majority of time, however, in examination of developmental disorders, substance abuse disorders, behavioral disorders, mood disorders and early signs of more serious mental illness such as personality disorders and psychotic disorders (though professionals cannot diagnose many of these until the child is 17 years of age). The role of anger and how youth ‘act it out’ is also examined. Question and answer and discussion of the impact of parental mental health issues is also included. Strategies for effective engagement, reasoning and methods for de-escalation and motivating these students for success whenever possible are discussed.
Recognition and referral to appropriate resources, rather than use of discipline alone is essential to assist these children and their families who are also likely struggling with their behavior, if not contributing to it. Once a serious mental illness is carried into adulthood, the person and family bearing it becomes the problem of society in homelessness, criminal activity and perpetual abuse of others to them as well. We can begin to stem the tide of the mental health crisis in America by making appropriate referrals of children and families who are suffering while they are young.

Recognizing Trauma Symptoms in Children & Adolescents

Children do not ‘talk it out’ they ‘act it out. We have to stay in tuned to what they are trying to tell us through their play and behavior in general. Has your child begun acting differently all of a sudden? Are they regressing to earlier stages of development? These, among others are often signs of trauma—not always from abuse, but possibly from bullying in school, a divorce, a family death or that of a beloved pet or friend. We never want to punish our children in school or at home for hurts they are already feeling from other causes, but if you are not personally prepared to watch for these signs, you may do so unintentionally, by simply misinterpreting these signs as misbehavior.

Report, Review

The half-day workshop focuses on a review of internal report writing standards and on understanding and incorporating the information contained in psychological reports. We explore the reasons for certain tests, what the numbers mean, and how tests are interpreted, and the report is written. We discuss the value of a parent’s input during a clinical interview. Participants see an actual redacted psychological report of a juvenile, a sample of the testing materials and have a chance to ask questions about the evaluation process.

Teen Suicide: Prevention and Intervention

This training addresses the difficult topic of suicide, which is undoubtedly the greatest of challenges faced as mental healthcare providers, educators and parents. This workshop examines the demographics, prevalence, risk factors, personal characteristics and school system characteristics of juvenile suicides. We also review recommended policies for suicide prevention in schools. Evaluating an adolescent’s risk of self-harm is crucial in determining treatment needs. A clinical interview and psychological evaluation are a valuable to tool for assessing risk.
The approach and engagement in the clinical interview for creating a safe and trusting environment is extraordinarily important in determining the vulnerability of a person in crisis in the present and/or the potential risk for suicidal attempts in the immediate future. Ascertaining the difference between suicidal ideation and suicidal intention, gaining agreement to ‘No Harm’ contracts, knowing when to transport to a hospital or to refer for professional evaluation for possible psychotropic medications and engaging parental or guardian cooperation are all critical issues for intervention. We listen to testimonials from suicide survivors who were able to successfully reengage in life, and to create a life with an investment in really living. Professionals also share testimonials about their direct experiences in losing clients to suicide, and we learn how to best support each other in the aftermath of a completed suicide. This training also seeks to provide a safe space and therapeutically supportive environment for attendees to share their own experiences with suicidality in their places of work and/or families.

Trauma-Informed Victim Services

Learning to understand the physical, social and emotional impact of trauma on the individual, as well as on the professionals who help them. This includes victim-centered practices. It incorporates three elements: 1) Realizing the prevalence of trauma; 2) Recognizing how trauma affects all individuals involved with a team, an organization or system, including its own workforce; 3) Responding by putting this knowledge into practice. Using a trauma-informed approach also helps produce better case results for even for law enforcement. For example, it leads to more effective interviews of victims and witnesses; it maximizes the chances of cooperation with; and it helps structure the search for information to present a trauma-informed report.

Trauma Takes a Toll: Childhood Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation

A workshop that examines a range of Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation issues that impact a juvenile’s functioning and success in life as well as the impact on persons who work with them and may have experienced the same things as children. The first half of this workshop spends a good deal of time on defining abuse and examination of the impact of trauma on the juvenile’s reactions to authority, tendencies to offend others, referral interventions and recommendations needed for recovery and success in the school system, as well as in life functioning in general social and occupational settings. We examine the importance of the relationship with authorities and have open discussion and role-play of various scenarios frequently encountered by school personnel in the course of their work. During the last two hours of the day, we explore the impact of personal childhood trauma on school staff when working with these children, including reactions to authority in the workplace, reaction to coworkers and finally, countertransference reaction potential toward the abused child by the (previously) abused adult. Question and answer are included throughout the day.

Trust-Based Relational Intervention

TBRI is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI uses ‘Empowering Principles’ to address physical needs, ‘Connecting Principles’ for attachment needs, and ‘Correcting Principles’ to disarm fear-based behaviors. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscientific research, the heartbeat of TBRI is connection and is designed for children from “hard places” such as abuse, neglect, and/or trauma. Children from hard places need caregiving that meets their unique needs, and which addresses the whole child.

Understanding Cutting and Self-Harm

This workshop centers on understanding and responding to cutting and self-harm. Self-harm is a way of expressing and dealing with deep distress and emotional pain. As counterintuitive as it may sound to those on the outside, hurting oneself may make one feel better. In fact, self-injury is often the only coping skill one has in dealing with feelings like sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, and rage. The problem is that the relief that comes from self-harming doesn’t last very long. It also creates its own problems such as secrecy, shame and isolation, which then negatively affects one’s relationships, creating a downward spiral of loneliness, worthlessness and helplessness. Recognition of cutting for psychological reasons versus cutting to belong as a fad, are explored and appropriate interventions are discussed.