“How are you doing? “
“That’s not what I wanted to know”,
It commented on people’s tendency to always be, or feel, busy-busy-busy. This busy-ness also gets in the way of professional development it seems. When we interviewed teachers about which medium they preferred to learn about trauma in children, a workshop or training turned out not to be feasible. Several teachers explained that they wouldn’t be able to fit a workshop in their (busy) schedule, even though they were enthusiastic about attending one. Also for the clinical professionals around me, it seems to be an eternal struggle to make time for whole days of training.
Now, unfortunately, I don’t have a solution to busy-ness (though I try to figure it out for myself with some zen/mindfulness). But I do see interesting options which make training more convenient. In the trauma domain, we have a number of high-quality, free (or low-cost*) online training programs that I am not sure everybody is aware of.
I am not talking about helpful websites where you can read information about traumatic stress and recovery this time. It’s really about those packages that provide you with a step-by-step training, involving numerous video examples of techniques, exercises with feedback, video/audiotaped advice from experts, and scripts, in addition to the instructive text you read. Some of them also have a voice-over for the descriptive text, which makes it even more easy to pick up the knowledge.
To date, I have identified three of these high-quality, accessible, and free (or low-cost*) training packages. I’ll shortly describe them below, in random order. If you know another one that answers the criteria, please let us know!
Psychological First Aid (PFA) is an evidence-informed approach to assist people in the immediate aftermath of disaster and terrorism. It is developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the National Center for PTSD in the US. The aim of PFA is to reduce initial distress and to foster short and long-term adaptive functioning in trauma survivors. It is for use by a wide range of professionals, including first responders, incident command systems, primary and emergency health care providers, school crisis response teams, faith-based organizations, and disaster relief organizations. The online training is an interactive 6-hour course that puts the participant in the role of a provider in a post-disaster scene.
TF-CBT is a psychotherapy approach for children and parents who are experiencing emotional and behavioral difficulties related to traumatic events. It is a modular treatment developed by Cohen, Mannarino and Deblinger which uses cognitive behavioral, family, and humanistic principles and techniques. The treatment has received a large amount of empirical support for improving children’s mental health after trauma exposure. The online training is a 10-hour course with step-by-step instructions for each component of the therapy.
An additional course is available for the treatment of childhood traumatic grief (available only to learners who have completed the TF-CBT course): CTG web**. In addition to specific grief-focused components of therapy with children and parents, it discusses potentially relevant cultural and religious issues related to grief.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (developed by Resick, Monson and Chard) consists of a structured, sequenced approach to address the needs of adult patients suffering from PTSD. Even though the treatment was initially designed for military and combat-related PTSD, it may also be used for other types of trauma. Important topics in the treatment concern the connections between trauma-related thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and challenging maladaptive thoughts about the trauma. Several studies have confirmed the positive effects of CPT on survivors’ mental health. The 9-hour course teaches therapists about all aspects of the treatment.
*The three packages were all free when I wrote this blogpost. However, since then, the makers of the TF-CBT training have upgraded their modules and (as of Dec 2019) ask a one-off $35 fee. It’s still very affordable compared to other training options so I’ve kept it in the post. Thanks to an anonymous reader for alerting me to the change though!
**Thanks to Delyth Lloyd for letting me know about this training.