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Risking Connection
Risking Connection® is a model for understanding and responding effectively to the needs of people who have been profoundly wounded in interpersonal relationships. The model was originally developed in 1999 out of a partnership between Sidran Institute and the Trauma Research, Education and Training Institute (TREATI), under a commission from the state mental health authorities of Maine and New York. The goal was to create a training model that could be used to teach clinicians, agency-based service providers, and frontline helpers of all types how best to respond to survivors of interpersonal trauma, such as child abuse and family violence.

Based on the tenets of TREATI’s Constructivist Self Development Theory (CSDT), Risking Connection focuses on the quality, value, and skills for building relationships as the keys to promoting healing among trauma survivors. It also emphasizes that in order to effectively help those who have been wounded in relationships, helpers must attend to self-awareness and self-care. The original Risking Connection program was written for personnel working in:

      1. State Psychiatric Hospitals
      2. Community Mental Health Centers
      3. Community Hospitals
      4. Partial hospitalization programs
      5. Substance abuse, addiction, and recovery programs
      6. Domestic violence agencies
      7. Sexual assault centers
      8. Crisis services, and
      9. Any treatment setting that serves adults who were abused as children.

The training program, administered in and ongoing partnership with TREATI, currently includes on-site, agency-based training, train-the-trainers for capacity building in agencies that have implemented Risking Connection, and training workshops for individual service providers and private practitioners. For details on content or to purchase a copy of the Risking Connection curriculum, click here.  For more information on Risking Connection training services, visit http://www.riskingconnection.org

Following the success of the Risking Connection program, Sidran has been approached to partner with other organizations to develop specialized applications for this cutting edge model. In partnership with the International Conference of War Veteran Ministers and funded by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Risking Connection in Faith Communities was published in 2006. The approach is the same as the original model, but the application and language has been adapted for use by clergy and congregational lay leaders. The “theology-free” text deals primarily with the effects of trauma on a survivor’s spiritual life, and the role spirituality can play in healing. The training is designed so that each trainer/class can add examples, readings, and rituals that reflect their own religious beliefs. For more information about Risking Connection in Faith Communities, contact us.

Currently in Partnership with the Domestic Violence and Mental Health Policy Initiative of Chicago, Risking Connection-DV is in development. Adapted specifically to the advocacy stance and language of the domestic violence movement, this version of Risking Connection is written to the needs and challenges of organizations in this field, and for mental health providers who work with battering victims. Publication of this curriculum is anticipated early in 2008.

On the horizon: The Klingberg Family Centers, national leaders in residential child services, will be partnering to develop Risking Connection with Children in Care. Through TREATI, they are currently providing training for this audience.

The Risking Connection approach has been the basis of several of Sidran’s local demonstration projects over the last eight years. The TAMAR Project, funded by SAMHSA, was built on extensive Risking Connection training for corrections, mental health, and substance abuse staff of three Maryland counties. Thanks to DOJ/OVC, participants in the East Baltimore Spirituality and Victims Services Collaborative were trained in trauma using Risking Connection and Risking Connection in Faith Communities. We are currently seeking funding for Risking Connection training for all participants of the Shofar Coalition, a new initiative to address child maltreatment in the Baltimore area Jewish community.

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Risking Connection
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"We help people understand, recover from, and treat trauma and dissociation"