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Risking Connection® : A Training Curriculum for Working with Survivors of Childhood Abuse
Karen W. Saakvitne, Ph.D., Ph.D., Sarah Gamble, Ph.D., Laurie Anne Pearlman, Ph.D., and Beth Tabor Lev, Ph.D.
Sidran Institute Press / Softcover / Oct 1999
9781886968080 (ISBN-10: 188696808X)
price: $74.50
312 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

A joint venture of the Sidran Traumatic Stress Foundation 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 Traumatic Stress Foundation, 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

"As a teacher and trainer in the trauma field for many years, I have often wished for a well-organized, accessible trauma training manual: finally there is one! Risking Connection® is a wonderful training tool, written for a broad variety of helping professionals. The writers bring all the essential trauma issues into sharp focus, allowing the helper to understand, feel and act. --Dusty Miller, Ed.D., author of Women Who Hurt Themselves: A Book of Hope and Understanding

"I have participated in this training and I have seen it work! Risking Connection® is extremely valuable for workers in large public mental health systems, but it is equally effective for sensitizing staff in all the other agencies that serve trauma survivors, such as welfare and social services. --Jacki McKinney, Consumer/Survivor/Recovered Person; Independent Consultant, Women and Violence Study

"An understanding of power and control issues are a key element in effective therapeutic work with survivors of abuse conveyed through real-life practice scenarios and self-reflective exercises. A focus on the needs and experiences of workers is woven throughout the curriculum, providing a crucial component often lacking in training programs." --Robin E. Connors, Ph.D., author of the forthcoming Self-Injury: Psychotherapy with People Who Engage in Self-Inflicted Violence

"Risking Connection® is a long overdue and much needed resource. Its breadth and depth are quite astounding yet it has a flexibility and accessibility that will allow it to be used in a variety of service settings with a wide variety of professionals and paraprofessionals alike." --Christine A. Courtois, Ph.D., Clinical and Training Director, The CENTER: Posttraumatic Disorders Program, The Psychiatric Institute of Washington; Psychologist, Independent Practice; Author, Recollections of Sexual Abuse: Treatment Principles and Guidelines, Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: A Workshop Model, and Healing the Incest Wound: Adult Survivors in Therapy

"From their thorough understanding of trauma, seasoned by clinical wisdom, the authors have developed a comprehensive treatment approach that empowers clients by fostering active collaboration... The curriculum is based on a compelling premise: The relationship heals, and the healer's health and well-being must be at the forefront of training and practice. To sustain the work, clinicians must practice what they preach. This is a masterful approach to a major public health problem." --Jon G. Allen, Ph.D., Helen Malsin Chair in Mental Health Research, The Menninger Clinic

Risking Connection® provides the essential tools of trauma-informed clinical intervention, and describes the underlying philosophy and general principles of trauma treatment. Just as important, it devotes considerable attention to the effects of this work on the practitioner. I can't say enough about the timeliness and importance of this book. --John Briere, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology; Director, Psychological Trauma Clinic, University of Southern California School of Medicine

"Risking Connection® is a fine contribution to the field of traumatic stress studies. Once again, Laurie Pearlman and her colleagues have found a way to make complex material comprehensible for a wider group of people. This manual provides administrators and trainers in various health and mental health care settings with valuable tools for understanding the impact of overwhelming stress on the people seeking our help and on us as well." --Sandra Bloom, M.D., Alliance for Creative Development

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