Skills-Based Trainings

In addition to teaching as an adjunct clinical professor for the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver and an instructor for the Center for Human Services at UC Davis, I provide training services to community-based organizations and private corporations 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 courses:

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 Trainings
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.  Making Peace with Anxiety & Panic in Uncertain Times

This online seminar will equip you with a powerful set of practical tools from a research-based form of talk therapy called Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy or MBCT, which may be helpful to you during this time of extraordinary stress and uncertainty. Studies have shown that MBCT is effective at helping people actively manage their symptoms of anxiety and other mood symptoms while improving quality-of-life.

What is more, your instructor will help you understand the neurobiology of anxiety; what triggers it; the role that stress hormones play in emotional dysregulation, and what can be done to calm anxiety from the level of the body up-to-the brain and from the brain down-throughout-the-body. Finally, your instructor will introduce you to a set of Self-Compassion techniques that can help you calm the nervous system when confronted with overwhelming fear and panic. This workshop will include guided meditation practices led by your instructor.

3. 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 countertransference, 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 Health Coaching.

4. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for PTSD

Mindfulness is a meditative practice that involves training one’s ability to pay attention to what is happening in the moment without reacting to elaborate mental stories about the experience and without reacting to distressing thoughts or emotions that may be present; instead, the experience is accepted without judgment or avoidance. Similarly, mindfulness is associated with improvements in concentration and awareness of thoughts and feelings as transient mental and physical events, not as factual representations of reality that demand a response. In this way, people trained in mindfulness can learn to witness distressing trauma-related memories, feelings, and body sensations from a more distanced and less personal perspective, which may allow for more reflective, intentional action and less impulsive, “automatic” emotional reactivity.

This evidence-based workshop teaches practical applications of mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy with psychotherapy clients who wish to alleviate symptoms of trauma while improving quality-of-life. It demonstrates the skills to help clients develop a new and radical way of relating to difficult emotions.

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