Teaching Positive Behavioral Interventions for Positive Youth Development

Training workshops have a cognitive-behavioral foundation and are trauma informed to help staff understand and respond to pain based behaviors in ways which ensures safety, protects the youth’s dignity, promotes learning and growth, and builds supportive relationships.

Training workshops are designed to provide practical, reality based approaches for helping staff create helping environments, and strategies which address the needs of the children and youth we serve.

PYI provides On-site training workshops that can be adapted or modified to meet a current organizational need, a particular target population (residential staff, teachers, foster parents), client population, or program area.

Workshops available for your on-site trainings:

Bully Prevention and Intervention
Bullying is frequently defined as aggressive acts or doing intentional harm, carried out over time, and directed at less powerful children. Bullying is still a pervasive problem in our schools and residential programs, with some studies indicating that one in six students have been the victim of some form of bullying. Adults in schools and residential programs must learn to identify and intervene quickly with bullying behaviors if we are to protect our children and prevent the potentially disastrous consequences of inaction.
Creating a Safe and Helping Environment
For the children living in group care or attending an alternative education program, the classroom, cottage, unit, or group home is the focal point of our interventions. Children in these settings are in need of a healthy, stable environment for teaching and treatment. The therapeutic make-up of an environment is not just comprised of the structure, rules, routines, activities, or rituals of a program, but of the attitudes, beliefs, values, and bahaviors, which are modeled by the adults. This course examines the qualities and components of a therapeutic environment, and focuses on staff strategies to create a positive culture with the children.
Dealing with Aggressive Youth
Many youth residing in foster care, attending an alternative school, or on probation are referred to as "conduct disorder" or "oppositional defiant" or some other term used to denote their pattern of using power and aggression to control their environment. Because these youth seem to lack guilt or remorse for their aggressive actions, they can be resistant to therapy and other conventional interventions. These youth distrust adults, justify their aggressive acts, and have little regard for the feelings or property of others. Their lack of empathy for their victims can stir up strong counter aggressive feelings in the adults who work with, and often give up on these youth. This course will present the foundations of aggressive behaviors, the characteristic patterns of the aggressive youth, the comon justifications for aggressive acts, and strategies to avoid power struggles and confront the aggressive behavior.
Debriefing Critical Incidents
Most treatment programs and schools have regulations that require that all physical restraints be debriefed, with the involved staff, no later than the next working day following the incident .Administrators, Directors, Principals and their staff need an interviewing format which not only helps them understand what happened, but also helps staff understand their role in easing or escalating the situation.
Discipline as Learning
Responding to behaviors in ways that make a difference is the daily challenge for teachers, youth counselors, and foster parents. Adults bring into programs their own values and beliefs about what discipline means, and must understand that discipline, in the context of a therapeutic environment, is an educational process. In it's true sense, discipline is about teaching, and change is about learning. This course helps adults assess their own disciplinary procedures, provides guidelines for preventative and corrective discipline, and how to become proactive in responding to behaviors.
Group Process and Dynamics
The effectiveness of teachers in the classroom or staff in a residential setting is directly related to their ability to engage and lead "the group." Understanding the dynamic processes within the peer group, and between adults and children is essential if the adults wish to promote a positive peer culture and provide a climate of growth and opportunity. Group roles, moods, tastes, aversions, tolerances, and interactions must be recognized and utilized by adult leaders when planning programs and activities. This course offers staff the opportunity to assess their youth group in a variety of areas, and discuss the implications for future programming.
Life Space Crisis Intervention Certification Program
Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) is a nationally recognized, professional training and certification program.

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Programming Activities for Growth
Activities and routines are vital in the development of all children, but in a classroom, residential, or day treatment program they are also full-fledged therapeutic tools. It is always important that children have fun and enjoy the activities, but staff must also use activities to promote the group culture, teach social, recreational, or vocational skills, and manage behaviors. This course teaches staff to assess each child's skill areas, motivation, and on-tap controls when planning activities for the group. Daily routines for the group are reviewed from the perspective of providing consistency, predictability, and stability for the children, as well as opportunities for skill acquisition.
Separation, Loss, and Transitioning into Placement
Separation is a part of all growth and develoment and is a process that creates stress and anxiety for all children. In healthy development, the child's fears and concerns are mitigated by the safety, security, and relationships with their families. For the children in foster care, who have been involuntarily removed from their families and community, the impact of separation is traumatic. Children come into placement with feelings of fear, suspicion, anger, guilt, and uncertainty about their futures. For the child, transitioning into a new placement becomes a stressful, or even a crisis event with implications for how the child will be able to form attachments and relationships with staff and/or foster parents.
Supervising Staff in a Helping Environment
The quality of supervision is a significant factor in training, educating, supporting, and retaining staff. Supervisors in the helping professions are frequently promoted based upon competent technical skills, but lack training in supervisory management skills. This is particularly true for front line supervisors in residential programs but applies to most social service environments. This course, which can be adapted for new or experienced supervisors, presents supervision as a process, with different components requiring different skills. Organization and planning, team leadership, individual supervision goals, documentation, managing conflict, progressive discipline, and evaluations are reviewed.
Understanding Youth in Crisis and Pain based Behaviors
Intervening with, and attempting to manage a youth in crisis is our most challenging, emotional, and stressfull responsibility. If we are to help our most troubled and challenging youth, then adults must learn how to use a crisis as an opportunity for learning and growth. This course presents the three foundation principles of Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI), and is designed to:
  • help staff understand how children under stress, or in crisis, perceive, think, feel and behave
  • help staff understand their own counter-aggressive tendencies, and learn the dynamics of the Conflict Cycle
  • help staff learn the counseling skills of observation, attending, responding, and listening
  • improve staff/child relationships
Vicarious Trauma, Burnout, and Counter aggression
Many of the youth in our treatment settings and classrooms have witnessed and/or experienced a trauma event(s). Working with trauma survivors can have the secondary impact of producing traumatic reactions in staff. Organizations, and the staff themselves, must understand and be aware of the signs of vicarious trauma. This workshop will examine ways to decrease the effects of vicarious trauma, as well as discuss the concepts of burnout and counter aggression.