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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 survivors of traumatic life events, especially those with histories of childhood trauma These organizations work with children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of settings including: inpatient and outpatient mental health foster care, hospitals, primary and family medical care, peer recovery programs, faith communities, residential care, and therapeutic schools.

Brief Description

Risking Connection is a foundational trauma training program that grew out of a 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, and theory of cognitive schemas. Risking Connection provides a way for organizations and systems to change their culture to one that is trauma-informed and trauma-responsive. It uses a train-the-trainer model of dissemination whereby organizations gain the internal capacity to conduct Risking Connection trainings and sustain a trauma-informed culture.

This model emphasizes:

  • A framework for understanding common trauma symptoms
  • 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

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
Name: Bonnie L. Green, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: Georgetown Center for Trauma and the Community
Website: ctc.georgetown.edu
Phone: (202) 687-6529
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: July 2014

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: November 2012