Sunday, May 03, 2009

49 Reasons to Do Risking Connection Training

We recently had the privilege of working with two groups of people for which we had provided Risking Connection® training. In both cases we were now providing Train-the-Trainer Training, and we started by asking the participants about changes they had noticed in their work or their agency since having the original Risking Connection®. Here is what they said (and these are verbatim!):

1. The every day milieu is different-we avoid shaming the kids and remember that symptoms are adaptations.We are more hopeful and positive- we live in solutions.

2. We teach about how to maintain and repair relationships, that it is okay to make a mistake and you can fix it.

3. There is more awareness of vicarious traumatization (VT), and we use the worksheets to discuss it.

4. We have a new awareness of what the kids have been through.

5. We process our VT and it helps us not to take things personally.

6. The staff is talking more with the kids, finding out where their behavior is coming from.

7. We understand the relationship between the kids’ background and their behaviors.

8. We engage the child more.

9. We understand the difference between shame and guilt.

10. Focus on relationships and repair helps staff relationships.

11. We look at the client’s self capacities and how we can build them.

12. The direct care workers and youth counselors are more involved in the treatment.

13. There has been a decrease in AWOL and self harm among our kids.

14. We see the power of listening and validating.

15. We tried a pilot program in one classroom, we shifted the way we look at behavior and there has been a decrease in acting out.

16. I’m using Risking Connection® concepts in animal assisted therapy!

17. There is more openness to look at kids differently.

18. There is more time spent processing, which leads to better behaviors.

19. The kids are involved in their own treatment plans.

20. We are teaching the parents new ways to understand their kids’ behaviors.

21. We have incorporated it into staff language.

22. We use Risking Connection® concepts in supervision with staff.

23. I can see differences between staff who have and have not been trained.

24. We help the kids make the connection between their behaviors and their pasts.

25. We remember that a child is doing the best he can.

26. We are using this language and concepts in training foster parents.

27. It has changed how we talk about the kids.

28. We take better care of each other.

29. We use RICH with each other and the kids.

30. We have more self awareness.

31. We took the consequence list off the wall to avoid shame.

32. We talk about the function of behavior.

33. This place feels more like a real home.

34. We stress relationships with new employees.

35. We are nicer to each other.

36. We are more understanding of the parents.

37. We understand that VT is normal and we validate each other’s feelings.

38. We are saying "yes" more to the kids.

39. We are actively listening.

40. We are more hopeful.

41. We have given the kids more self determination in running their own living units.

42. We let the students talk.

43. We have more emphasis on strengths.

44. We pay more attention to staff who get hurt.

45. We are teaching these concepts to our bus drivers!

46. We have changed our hiring practices.

47. We pay more attention to providing good transitions for the kids.

48. We are more flexible.

49. I am a kinder, gentler person.

Pretty powerful!

If you haven’t had this training yet- what are you waiting for?

1 comment:

Kate Nicoll said...


As you know, Soul Friends has been incorporating trauma-informed practices in our group animal assisted therapy for children over the past five years. Serving more than 3,000 children many of them with severe trauma and abuse histories. Through research efforts with several local universities, we have begun to demonstrate on Animal Assisted Interventions can help children improve their sense of hopefulness and empathy. We are currently in the midst of a study and looking for sites interested in a University of Hartford doctoral students investigation of how the group curriculum may help children's traumatic symptoms. We currently have one site at a CT residential facility. If anyone else is interested they could contact me

Kate Nicoll, LCSW