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Risking Connection®

Scientific Rating:
Not able to be Rated
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Risking Connection® has been reviewed by the CEBC in the areas of: Trauma Treatment (Child & Adolescent) and Trauma Treatment (Adult), but lacks the necessary research evidence to be given a Scientific Rating.

Target Population: Organizations with professionals, paraprofessionals, and others who work with or relate to survivors of traumatic life events, especially those whose histories include childhood trauma such as the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Note that the professionals, paraprofessionals, and others are often survivors of traumatic experiences as well. These organizations work with children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of settings including: in- and out-patient public and private mental health and social services systems and agencies, child-serving systems, and faith communities.

Brief Description

Risking Connection is a foundational trauma training program that grew out of a 1996 consumer trauma survivor lawsuit against the state of Maine.

It is based on constructivist self-development theory (CSDT), an integrative theory drawing on attachment theory, relational psychoanalytic theory, developmental psychopathology, theory of cognitive schemas, and social learning theory.

This model emphasizes:

  • A framework for understanding common trauma symptoms
  • Development of a common inclusive language
  • Relationships as the primary agent of change
  • Respect for, and care of, both the client and the service provider as critical to healing (vicarious traumatization)
  • Strategies and tools to support adoption of the model in clinical, social, and organizational processes

Implementation includes application of the model in people, processes, and systems as a foundational frame of reference for responding to others from first contact through community encounter. The RICH® (Respect, Information, Connection, Hope) relationship is the central tool, coupled with reframing behavior, developing self-capacities, and integrating trauma-informed thinking into action.

Program Goals:

The goals of the Risking Connection training program are to train organizations to:

  • Utilize the Risking Connection framework to respond to the impact of traumatic life events.
  • Frame common symptoms and behaviors as adaptations to traumatic life events.
  • Respond to survivors of traumatic experiences from a strengths-based approach.
  • Use strength-based, present-focused relationships to support healing.
  • Demonstrate collaborative crisis management that reduces the risk of re-traumatization.
  • Demonstrate increased self-awareness of their reactions to individual clients.
  • Integrate knowledge of the impact of vicarious traumatization in the formulation of organizational and individual self-care plans.
  • Create trauma-responsive cultures including policies, processes, and people systems.

Expected organizational outcomes include:

  • Knowledge of content and models essential to Risking Connection.
  • Reflection of beliefs favorable to trauma-informed care and trauma-responsiveness.
  • Demonstration of behaviors aligned with trauma-informed care.
  • Changes in professional quality of life including an increase in compassion satisfaction, decrease in burn out, and a decrease in secondary (or vicarious) traumatic stress.
  • Responses that reduce the use of restraints and seclusion at organizations (where these are employed).
  • Decreases in staff turnover related to the impact of vicarious trauma.
  • Shifts in service recipient ratings of provider guidance, collaboration, and understanding of problems and other markers indicating increases in trauma-responsiveness.
  • Increase in context-specific indicators of positive interactions and quality in relationships among service providers and recipients.

For the trauma victims, the goals include to:

  • Reduce stigma.
  • Reduce behavior management techniques that are coercive.
  • Increase the ability to regulate emotions, to develop and use inner connections, and to feel worthy of life.

» View detailed report which includes:
Essential Components, Published Relevant Peer-Reviewed Research, Education and Training Resources, etc.

Contact Information

Name: Elizabeth Power, M.Ed.
Agency/Affiliation: Trauma Informed Response/EPower & Associates, inc.
Website: www.traumainformedresponse.com/Services.html
Phone: (615) 714-6389
Name: Steven Brown, PsyD
Agency/Affiliation: Klingberg Family Centers
Website: traumaticstressinstitute.org/services/risking-connection-training
Phone: (413) 218-3293
Agency/Affiliation: Sidran Corporation
Website: www.riskingconnection.com
Phone: (410) 825-8888

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2013

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2013

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: November 2012