Helping Adolescents Develop into Sexually Healthy Adults

Social isolation, loneliness, and difficulty fitting into social settings and networks are everyday experiences in the lives of adolescents. Many adolescents have given up hope of having truly fulfilling sexual relationships when they are adults. This training offers professionals who work with adolescents ways to talk with them about sex and sexuality and help them develop and practice the skills necessary for developing into sexually healthy adults. It addresses topics rarely discussed in programs for adolescents: the boundaries of flirting on- and off-line; what informed consent for sex is and how it works; relevant knowledge of how the body works; appropriate language for communicating about sex. Adolescents’ understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable and legal is vitally important for their future success in sexual relationships

Assessing Adolescents Who Have Sexually Abused

The training will provide an introduction to and overview of the contemporary process of sexual risk assessment for young people who engaged in sexually abusive behavior, including the necessity of a comprehensive assessment process. It will review types of assessment, the two primary approaches to risk assessment, and the most commonly used assessments in assessing sexual risk in adolescents (and children), and will also look at the nature of and empirical support for both risk factors and juvenile risk assessment instruments. Importantly, the training will emphasize the need for sensitivity to both context and developmental factors in evaluating children and adolescents, and the goal of recognizing the young person as a whole person and placing sexually problematic behavior into the context of both their psychosocial history and current psychosocial functioning. Understanding both the weaknesses and the strengths of the risk assessment process, the training will also highlight the capacity and value of structured risk assessment instruments in helping to understand the nature and circumstances of risk for assessed individuals, as well as factors and circumstances that protect against risk, and their value as tools for treatment planning and case management.  

Women Who Perpetrate Sexual Offenses

The needs of women who perpetrate sexual offenses are just beginning to be understood. Although conducting risk and treatment needs assessments is becoming increasingly common, there are no empirically derived instruments to assist clinicians with these tasks. These assessments are different than those conducted for males and require clinicians to have a solid understanding of women who perpetrate violent crimes.

Working with Persons with Special Needs in Forensic Settings

The Risk/Need/Responsivity (RNR) framework revolutionized correctional intervention schemes when it was first introduced in the 1990s. Since that time, practitioners and programs alike have worked to ensure that clients in forensic settings really do receive an intensity of intervention that is commensurate with the level of risk they pose (risk principle), while criminogenic needs are specifically targeted (need principle). However, despite gains in the areas of risk and need, the field continues to struggle with the responsivity principle, which encourages service providers to consider the nature of their involvement with clients.

Practical Application of the Good Lives Model

The Good Lives Model (GLM) has become a popular approach to the treatment of people who sexually abuse; however, substantial variation has been observed in its practical application. This three-hour online training focuses on how programs and therapists can best integrate the GLM into treatment with persons who have sexually abused. It is suitable for treatment providers and program administrators working in prison, civil commitment, and community-based settings who wish to integrate the GLM.

Effective Use of Motivational Interviewing to Engage and Help People with Intimate Partner Violence

This four-hour intensive workshop is tailored to professionals (including psychologists, social workers, and counselors) specializing in intimate partner violence and working within the criminal-justice, health-care, mental-health, and social-service systems.Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a person-centered counseling approach that helps individuals to explore and resolve ambivalence about change. After an orientation to the underlying spirit, structure and skills of MI, practical exercises will help participants strengthen skills for demonstrating empathy, recognizing and eliciting “change talk”, and rolling with client discord/resistance.

Sex Offense-Specific Treatment: Learning (And Re-Learning) the Basics

This training offers practical guidance for using treatment to change dynamic risk factors that can significantly help to reduce risk for future offending. It focuses on developing positive “approach goals” that build protective skills and address deficits. It further explores integrating information from a dynamic risk assessment (the Violence Risk Scale: Sexual Offense Version) into treatment planning. Dr. Ballinger will offer practical case examples that demonstrate how therapeutic factors and commonly used sex offense-specific treatment methods are relevant in addressing specific dynamic risk factors. Finally, the training will present practical suggestions for supplementing sex offense-specific treatment with skills-based therapeutic interventions such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy to address specific responsivity needs in addition to dynamic risk factors.

How to Optimize Successful Sex Offending Treatment with the Road to Freedom Program

This four-hour training explores implementing a program based on the 4th edition of the workbook, The Road to Freedom, for people who have committed sexual offenses. The RTF4 program is strengths-based, client-centered, trauma-informed, and based on the principles of risk, need, and responsivity. The training focuses on using the workbook in treatments that aim to reduce dynamic risk. Dr. Levenson will further discuss the RTF4 sex offending treatment goals in the context of facilitating broader change in clients’ lives. For instance, the training will provide information on enabling client accountability (not simply offense culpability), understanding the development of the problematic behavior (with a focus on developmental trauma), addressing problematic cognitive schemas about self and others (not just distortions about sexual abuse), enhancing general, sexual, and emotional self-regulation skills (which translates to relapse prevention), engaging in positive relationship-building and healthy communication skills (reducing intimacy deficits), and improving the ability to be empathic and understand the perspectives of others. The training provides a review of the RTF4 chapters and exercises and offers ideas for incorporating the workbook into group and individual therapy sessions. Participants will learn how to individualize the program in a client-centered way, and how to utilize workbook topics to facilitate engagement and progress in treatment. The workshop will allow ample time for discussion. 

Online Training – Awakening the Healing Soul: Indigenous Wisdom for Today’s Healers

This workshop explores what modern professionals can learn from traditional healing practices, particularly in helping people recover from trauma and prevent abuse of all kinds. As examples, the workshop focuses on understanding the ethical integration of how placebo, hope, and expectancy effects can be used to assist clients’ ability to participate in treatment as well as understanding transformative processes and their relationship to Maslow’s peak experiences and self-actualization. The workshop also explores the definitions of evidence-based practices and best-practice therapies and how current models do and don’t make use of what ancient knowledge has to offer. Finally, it examines the emerging research into entheogenic medicine and explores possible implications for multi-disciplinary treatment.