Target Audience:  All School Staff & Administrators

Understanding Trauma:  Definition, a Framework, & the Brain
(120 minutes)

A growing field of research has emphasized the impact that trauma can have a student’s availability to learn and to function successfully in a school setting.  This training will define the different types of trauma and discuss the physiological impact of trauma and chronic stress on the brain.  This training will also review the ways in which trauma impacts the ability of children to learn, to successfully manage their emotions and behavior, and to form positive relationships with school staff and peers.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the different types of trauma and their impact on brain development.
  2. Identify what trauma looks like behaviorally and its effect on a student’s relationships with both adults and peers
  3. Summarize the ways in which trauma and chronic stress can impact a student’s availability to learn as well as their behavioral and emotional success at school.

Understanding Trauma II: Individual and Classroom Strategies
(90-120 minutes)

Understanding how to manage the behaviors of traumatized and chronically stressed students remains an ongoing challenge in the classroom setting.  When a student is unavailable to learn, even the best implemented educational strategies will not engage that child in academic work.  This training will introduce individual and classroom strategies—both proactive and in the moment— to help educators manage these challenging and often disruptive behaviors.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Examine difficult behaviors and challenging students through a trauma-informed lens.
  2. Name new strategies to utilize in the classroom to support traumatized and chronically stressed students.
  3. Provide a shared language to discuss these behaviors and strategies amongst school staff.

Understanding Trauma III:  Immigration and Acculturation Issues
(60-90 minutes)

As the federal government provides more data, there is increased knowledge that a student’s educational experience is impacted by race, culture, and immigration status.  Successfully bridging these gaps involves increased awareness and willingness to address these issues.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the changing landscape of the student population in Connecticut.
  2. Understand CLAS- Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services
  3. Recognize the impact of acculturation issues on student and family relationships with schools.
  4. Practice tailoring classroom and interpersonal approaches which are culturally and socially competent.

Self-Care Strategies for School Staff
(90-120 minutes)

All professionals in a “helping” field experience compassion fatigue that, if unrecognized, can lead to burn out.  This training will assist school staff in understanding the physiological and emotional signs of compassion fatigue and the importance of both recognizing and addressing this issue.  Strategies and tools for self-care will also be discussed.

Learning objectives:

  1. Understand the components of compassion fatigue.
  2. Implement both short and long term self-care strategies to address compassion fatigue.
  3. Create a supportive peer environment to anticipate and combat compassion fatigue.

Developmental Trauma:  Understanding Attachment in School-Aged Children
(90-120 minutes)

An imperative part of understanding how trauma and chronic stress impacts children is understanding the attachment process and the consequences of impaired attachment.   This training will focus on understanding trauma from an attachment perspective, and discussing mental health diagnoses related to impaired attachment.

Learning objectives:

  1. Understand the basic tenets of attachment, including different types of attachment
  2. Identify the implications of impaired attachment, relationally, behaviorally, and in terms of brain development.
  3. Describe helpful strategies to utilize with students who have impaired attachment.

The above 4 trainings can be combined, and will be tailored to most effectively meets each individual school staff’s needs.

Mental Health First Aid
(8 hours, can be broken into two 4-hour days)

Youth Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people.  Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.    Child & Family Agency has two Mental Health First Aid trainers on staff.

This training is capped at 30 participants.  Each participant receives a Mental Health First Aid Manual.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Introduces common mental health challenges for youth.
  2. Reviews typical adolescent development.
  3. Teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.


Target Audience: School Psychologists, Social Workers, School Counselors, & Administrators

Introduction to Therapy Techniques for use in a School Setting
(90-120 minutes) 

Students increasingly present in the school setting with social-emotional concerns which impact their availability to learn.  School support professionals are often asked to incorporate interventions into the child’s educational plan.  It can be especially challenging for the support professional to effectively apply these interventions, while maintaining a focus on educational goals, and balancing out of class time.

This seminar will review clinical engagement skills, introduce models of clinical intervention, and provide strategies for a targeted therapeutic approach in the school setting.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Name and describe effective initial clinical engagement skills, such as those that can be used with resistant students, or students who are emotionally dysregulated
  2. Demonstrate a general understanding of brief clinical intervention models
  3. Practice forming effective, measurable clinical approaches which dually satisfy social-emotional and educational needs.

Managing a Critical Student Disclosure
(90-120 minutes)

School support staff are often the first to receive a child’s disclosure of trauma, abuse, or neglect.  These disclosures can be difficult for the staff member to experience, and may be triggering if the adult has their own trauma history.  Yet the response to these disclosures is crucial in both the positive recovery of the student and the effective management of the disclosure.

This seminar will focus on effective response to initial disclosures.  Participants will learn and practice helpful approaches to interviewing students who make a disclosure, discuss strategies for fulfilling notification requirements while continuing to respect and empower the student, and engaging in professional self-care following a critical disclosure.

Learning Objectives

  1. Review and describe current theory and misconceptions regarding initial trauma disclosure
  2. Learn and practice effective interviewing techniques around disclosures
  3. Express an understanding of reporting requirement, with emphasis on gathering sufficient data without negatively impacting a future forensic interview
  4. Explain strategies for reporting disclosures without removing the student’s power and feelings of safety
  5. Engage in a discussion of professional self-care around disclosures: Identifying impact and developing a plan for coping for the professional

Initial Assessment of Student Risk
(90-120 minutes)

School Support Professionals are often asked to provide an initial assessment of student suicidal or homicidal risk.  Schools typically have a protocol for those determined to display active risk (ex. contacting Mobile Psychiatric Service, transportation to the ER).  However, it often falls on support staff to perform the initial screening, determine if these protocols should be enacted, whether students should re-enter the classroom, whether families should be contacted etc.

This seminar will provide an overview of suicide and homicide assessment skills.  Participants will learn the relevant protective and risk factors, important areas of questioning, and strategies for creating a safety plan and supportive recovery network.

Note:  This seminar is designed to assist in effective information gathering, assessment and communication.  It is not intended to serve as a guide for institutional policy or decision making.  Each emergent situation is unique. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Recognize the risk and protective factors involved in assessing suicidal and homicidal risk
  2. Demonstrate the ability to structure a risk interview, incorporating critical areas of inquiry
  3. Practice developing effective, clear safety plans which can be developed with students and their families
  4. Explain strategies for generating family involvement, and forming a recovery support system.

Introduction to Motivational Interviewing
(90-120 minutes)

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a clinical approach which has been highly successful in helping individuals make change in their lives. MI seeks to understand the ambivalence individuals have towards making change in their lives through open ended questions, reflective listening, affirmation, reframing, and empathy.  MI acknowledges that individuals may not feel ready to make a life change for a number of reasons such as: lacking belief in a change being successful, lacking means to make the change, and lacking support to make the change.

MI can be used by the school professional to assist students who have struggled to make effective change in peer relationships, school strategies, and unhealthy coping skills.  This seminar will introduce the participant to the theory behind Motivational Interviewing and review central techniques which can help promote positive student change.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Name and define the Stages of Change.
  2. Analyze individuals in terms of their stage of change, readiness to change, and access to means of change
  3. Demonstrate an ability to understand and utilize MI techniques, specifically: Reflective Listening, Forming Open Ended Questions, Developing Discrepancy, Employing a Readiness to Change Scale, and Verbalizing and Recognizing Ambivalence

Understanding and Assisting Students Who Self-Harm
(90-120 minutes)

Discovery of self-harming behavior can produce anxiety in staff members and fellow students alike, can lead to feelings of shame for the self-harming student, and has the potential to create stigmatization.  The Support Professional interviewing a student about self-harm is confronted by many considerations: involving school administration, when and how to contact families, and when/how to incorporate medical assessment.

This seminar will provide an overview of current theory around self-harming behaviors.  Participants will learn and practice effective strategies for creating a dialogue with students about self-harm, educating and guiding caregivers, and developing a helpful school response.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the physical and psychological components of self-harm
  2. Develop an understanding of self-harm as a coping strategy, and distinguish it from suicidality
  3. Learn and practice effective techniques for interviewing students about their self-harm
  4. Formulate effective approaches for educating families about self-harm and how they may assist the student

Strategies for Communication with Families
(90-120 minutes)

Recognizing the importance of family and community involvement in a student’s educational success, this training aims to assist support staff in increasing the positive interchange amongst school, family, and community resources.   This training will be tailored to each school’s particular challenges.

Learning Objectives: 

  1.  Assess student and family needs as it relates to educational success.
  2. Understand strategies to overcome socioeconomic and racial barriers within family/school relationships.
  3. Teach parents to advocate for their children within the school structure.
  4. Access a variety of community resources.


Contact, costs, and trainer information

CFA provides a training team of 2 Master’s level licensed clinicians (LCSW, LPC, LMFT) per training.
All trainings are multimedia presentations with interactive participant activities.
Cost:  $250/hour for up to 4 hours, then $200/hour for each subsequent hour.

For more information or to schedule a training, contact:

Erin Patterson Janicek, LCSW
Director of Clinical Services
860.443.2896  Ext. 1434 *

Looking for a training related to mental health that is not included on this list?  Contact us!

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