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Half-Day Workshop

Seminar: Part I - Trauma And The Brain: How It Affects Behaviour And Learning
                  Part II – Trauma Informed And Trauma Responsive Interventions

We have students in our schools who have great difficulty behaving and learning. Sometimes they have meltdowns that come “out of the blue”. These students are unpredictable and as a result also have difficulty with social interactions. It seems to take very little to provoke them into acting in ways that hurt other students. Some of these students also have academic difficulties such as memory problems, lack of motivation and disorganization. We have long sought reasons for such behaviour and learning difficulties. In Part I of this two part series, I will review what the neuroscience of complex trauma tells us about these students. We will delve into how the brain is directly affected by adverse childhood experiences. We will then look at the source of most adverse childhood experiences: experiencing too much separation, and how this too affects behaviour and learning. The Neufeld paradigm will then help us to make sense of what is happening with these students from an emotional and developmental perspective.

Once we understand how profoundly complex trauma and adverse childhood experiences, especially facing separation too much to bear, affect certain students then we will consider how best to intervene. We will look at why some interventions, while successful with other students, are rarely successful with these students. We will examine why some interventions should be avoided, especially as these students, once traumatised, are more likely to be re-traumatised. Then we will look at interventions that are more likely to be effective. While not a quick fix, these suggested ways of intervening are being used successfully in both Elementary and Secondary schools.

Dates:28 and 29 Apr 2022 (Thu & Fri)
Time:9.00am – 1.00pm (Singapore Standard Time GMT+0800)
Venue:Live Online Training
Speaker: Eva de Gosztonyi

Eva de Gosztonyi, MA, psychologist, OPQ has worked for over 45 years in schools across Canada. For the past 20 years she has been the provincial resource person for the English School Boards of Quebec through the Centre of Excellence for Behaviour Management, helping adults in the school setting provide effective developmental interventions for students with behavioural challenges. Her guiding principles are that we must value the natural maturational processes of our children and youth, respect their immaturity and vulnerability, and understand that safe and caring attachments with adults are essential for their optimal growth. Grounded in a robust theory, the interventions that she recommends to schools are practical and doable and go deeper than just managing symptoms. Her interventions are being applied in regular school settings, regular classrooms and also in specialized classrooms and schools with great success. Those implementing these strategies affirm that they lead to long-lasting changes that only come about when we understand the “why” behind the behaviour and respect the student’s developmental needs in our interventions. Her understanding of child development is primarily informed by the attachment-based developmental paradigm of Dr. Gordon Neufeld. Interventions are also guided by neuroscience, are trauma-informed and trauma-responsive, and are attachment-based and developmentally friendly. Eva is on Faculty at the Neufeld Institute and is an authorized presenter of the Neufeld paradigm.

Course Outline

Day 1: Part I - Trauma And The Brain: How It Affects Behaviour And Learning

  1. Complex childhood trauma
    • Basic definition
    • ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences Study) reviewed
    • The role of Attachment and Separation
  2. The effects of complex trauma on the developing brain
    • The Limbic System
    • Executive Functioning
    • Memory and Learning
    • Comprehension
  3. Introducing the Neufeld Separation Complex
    • The three Primary Emotional responses to separation
    • Emotional and behavioural responses to separation too much to bear
  4. Defenses and the effect on behaving and learning
    • The “what” and “why” of defenses including how these are seen by neuroscience
    • The cost of being too defended
  5. The implications of understanding the fallout from complex childhood trauma
    • General guidelines for behavioural interventions
    • General guidelines for academic interventions

Day 2: Part II – Trauma Informed And Trauma Responsive Interventions

7 Guiding Principles for Intervening with student who have experienced complex childhood trauma

  1. Keep student-adult relationships strong
  2. Build a team of interveners
  3. Minimize the experience of separation
    • Analysis of commonly used interventions in terms of the needs of children experiencing complex childhood trauma
    • Alternative interventions that better meet the needs of these students
  4. Compensate for the effects of Trauma (over-reactivity and immaturity) to help the student meet academic expectations
    • Organizing material
    • Dividing learning expectations into manageable segments
    • Providing support for completing assignments
  5. Provide structure and predictability
  6. Offer a variety of intervention options
    • How to use a Continuum of Interventions when responding to behavioural and learning needs
  7. Aim to soften the defensive armour through emotional expression and play
    • Helping students to find their tears
    • Using play and the arts to help with emotional expression and growth
Course Objectives

Day 1: Part I - Trauma And The Brain: How It Affects Behaviour And Learning

As a result of attending this presentation students will be able to:

  1. Provide a definition of complex childhood trauma
  2. Identify students who may have experienced complex childhood trauma
  3. Explain how the brain can be affected by complex childhood trauma
  4. Describe the role of attachment and separation as they relate to childhood complex trauma
  5. Explain the concept of defenses
  6. Describe the effects of complex childhood trauma on behaviour
  7. Describe the effects of complex childhood trauma on learning
  8. Provide general guidelines for behavioural interventions
  9. Provide general guidelines for academic interventions

Day 2: Part II – Trauma Informed And Trauma Responsive Interventions

As a result of attending this presentation students will be able to:

  1. Describe how best to protect student-adult relationships
  2. Create a team to provide school-based interventions
  3. Explain why certain interventions are not appropriate to use with students who have experienced complex childhood trauma
  4. Identify and describe how they will use two or more of the suggested interventions
  5. Explain how to provide conditions for compensating for the effects of complex childhood trauma in the area of academics
  6. Identify Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions that could be used in the schools where they are working
  7. Explain the importance of tears and sadness in developing resilience and the steps for doing so
  8. Describe a variety of play and art activities to help with emotional expression
Who Can Benefit?

This workshop is most appropriate social workers, counsellors, psychologists, administrators and mental health professionals working with students of all ages.

Course Fees & Closing Dates
Registration Type Closing Date Fees (S$) /pax
31 Jan 2022 320
Normal Till Full 370