Skills-Based Trainings

In addition to teaching as an adjunct clinical professor for the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver, I provide training services to organizations on issues related to mindfulness, self-compassion, trauma-informed practice, and increasing team-based resilience to vicarious trauma and empathic distress. I am currently offering the following trainings, which may be offered online or in-person:

1. Mindfulness-Based Strategies to Increase Psychological Resilience to Vicarious Trauma & Empathic Fatigue in Today’s Diverse Work Spaces

This multi-modal workshop is designed to assist helping professionals in two distinct ways: (1) The content and experiential exercises will increase participants’ active awareness of the “signs and symptoms” of vicarious trauma and empathic distress often present in high- stress human service work; (2) The content and experiential exercises will provide participants with a clear and practical process to identify and apply specific coping strategies to prevent the problem of vicarious trauma and empathic fatigue in today’s challenging work spaces. I am offering these courses over zoom or in-person, tailor-made to suit your team’s specific needs. I also provide the option to include confidential pre- and post-test measures to evaluate your team’s progress in increasing its sense of well being and satisfaction for the work. The following is a brief outline of the training program:

  1. Brief Overview of Vicarious Trauma Prevention Training
Pre-Training Activities: Team Assessment, Completion of Mixed-Methods Pre-tests & Identification of Organizational “Champions”
SECTION ONE:  Review of Existing Self-Care Practices & ProQOL Results
SECTION TWO:  Defining the Problem
SECTION THREE:  Defining the Solution
Compassion as a component of psychological resilience to vicarious trauma and empathic fatigue.
Review of Compassion-Training Home Practice, Questions and Answers
Inter-Training Activities: Coaching “Check-Ins” with Team Members
Training Session #2  SKILLS ACQUISITION
Home Practice Review & Questions
SECTION ONE: Introduction to Mindfulness Skills
SECTION TWO: Introduction to Self-Compassion Skills
SECTION THREE: Critical Thinking, Exercising Choice, & Strategic Use of Professional Boundaries
Review of Home Practice, Questions & Answers
Inter-Training Activities: Coaching “Check-Ins “with Team Members
Home Practice Review & Questions
SECTION ONE: Introduction to Practical Interventions for Working with Traumatic Material
Group Analysis of Team-developed Case Study
SECTION TWO: Ecological-Based Practices
Final Review, Questions & Answers
Post-Training Activities: Completion of Post-tests Immediately Following Training Session #3
Review of Initial Post-Test Results with Team Members
Sustainability Assessment: Completion of Secondary Post-Tests 6 Months Following Completion of Training Session #3
Delivery of Secondary Post-Test Results with Team Members

2. Cultivating Compassion with Challenging Behaviors in Mental Health
This multi-modal workshop is skills-based and designed for human service professionals who are interested in learning new tools and techniques for working with challenging behaviors that emerge from a client’s ambivalence to change such as oppositional-defiance, inconsistent attendance, and a lack of motivation to actively participate in mental health services, which can lead to various unintended consequences for helpers such as avoidance of “hard-to-treat” clients, an over reliance on referrals to outside agencies, an increase in counter-transference, professional self-doubt, compassion fatigue, and burnout. Therapeutic techniques taught in this course are based on several treatment modalities including: Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Self- Compassion, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Interpersonal Neurobiology.

3. Mindfulness-Based Strategies for Community Mental Health with a Special Focus on Psychosis

This multi-modal mindfulness-based educational workshop is designed to support training participants in the following ways: (1) the research-based content, reflective discussion, and experiential exercises will increase participants’ active awareness of how mindfulness meditation may enhance professional self-care and increase the quality of services to clients experiencing challenging mental health symptoms such as psychosis; (2) the experiential exercises, small group learning, mindfulness meditation, and periods of silence will increase participants’ mindful awareness and skillfulness at obtaining a state of equanimity in preparation for addressing hard-to-treat behavioral health symptoms; (3) the research-based content and reflective discussion will provide participants with a clear and practical process to understand how mindfulness techniques may help clients reduce maladaptive reactions to their psychotic symptoms; (4) the research-based content and reflective discussion will increase participants’ knowledge of evidence- based approaches to clinical work with clients experiencing mixed psychotic/mood symptomatology; 5) the research-based content, reflective discussion, and experiential exercises will provide participants with opportunities to introduce evidence-based mindfulness skills into their clinical practice with clients experiencing mixed psychotic/mood symptomatology.

4. A Systems-Oriented Approach to Assessing and Treating Complex Post-Traumatic Stress

This training provides an overview of multi-system level definitions of traumatic experience— historical, individual, interpersonal, family, organizational, and community. The emphasis is on clinical practice that is culturally responsive, growth-oriented, and strengths-based in which the study of trauma is approached from a theoretical base that perceives the trauma response as a response rather than a disorder. Trauma-informed assessment and interventions are examined that incorporate the three phases of treatment for Complex PTSD, techniques to work within the “window of tolerance,” and clinical interventions to support the reintegration of dissociated ego states.

Training abstracts are available upon request.


What People Are Saying…

Our office asked Tony to provide a 4-hour training to our direct services staff on vicarious trauma / compassion fatigue and the training was absolutely perfect. Participants shared how helpful the training was, giving them not only an understanding of what vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue was, but actually providing them the tools they needed to help address some of the challenges they faced in their day-to-day work. Tony created an environment that allowed our staff to be vulnerable and share very personal stories about client stories and even personal trauma they’ve experienced. Overall our direct services team of 50 staff were very grateful and hope to continue trainings like the one we received from Tony in the future.

–Nasim Khansari, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Los Angeles office

I found Tony to be thorough, organized, and helpful when preparing for the training and the delivery of continuing education units for our licensed staff. Tony is not only a respectful, dedicated and caring trainer; he truly lives what he teaches. The entire experience was a positive one, and we are looking forward to having him back soon.

–Susan Mayer-Zeitlin, MFT Wrap-around Services Supervisor, San Fernando Valley Community Mental Health Center

Everyone on my team who participated in Tony’s vicarious trauma prevention training
found it quite valuable. It’s been interesting to see the majority of my teammates
applying the concepts covered in the training to situations other than simply
interacting with challenging content and behaviors. For example, I’ve personally
found the breathing exercises to be very helpful when conducting difficult
conversations with colleagues. While a couple of folks previously felt as though
they had a complete handle on work-related stress, the training helped them realize
that there are indeed aspects of the job that have a greater impact on their lives
than they realized. This is a really nice revelation to have and a great mindset to
be in coming out of the training!

–David Watkis, Trust & Safety Lead for Automattic, Inc. 

Previous Clients
  • Automattic, Inc.
  • San Fernando Valley Community Mental Health Center
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice
  • Pennylane
  • Aspire Public Schools
  • Chrysalis
  • Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services
  • The Center for Nonprofit Management