For nearly two years now, the Risking Connection Training Program has been collecting data on the impact of RC training on trainees. With the help of Courtney Baker, a student at University of Massachusetts Clinical Psychology Department, we have analyzed the data and are submitting it for publication. Data was collected on 12 different trainee groups. Eleven of the trainee groups were from 5 different agencies. One group from a freestanding training had trainees from many agencies. Here is some of what we have learned from the data collection.
KNOWLEDGE Gain About RC Concepts. These results (and results from an earlier pilot study) strongly suggest that trainees significantly increase their knowledge of RC concepts during a 3-Day training. Four separate groups of trainees increase their scores 3 to 4 points on an 11-item measure resulting in group mean scores of between 7.7 and 9.3 (out of 11) at post test. A sample multiple choice item on this measure is: What does the concept “symptoms are adaptations” mean?
BELIEFS About Trauma Informed Care (TIC). Six different groups of trainees significantly increased their beliefs favorable to TIC from the beginning to the end of the 3-Day Basic training. In three agencies, we returned to do a Train-the-Trainer (TTT) five to ten months later for a subset of staff that completed the Basic Training. By the end of the TTT, scores favorable to TIC significantly increase when compared to the beginning and end of the Basic Training. Three trainee groups were taught by trained agency trainers (RC Associate Trainers, not RC Faculty Trainers). These groups also showed a significant increase in beliefs favorable to TIC from pre- to post-Basic training. A sample item from this measure is: Clients I work with are generally doing the best they can.
STAFF BEHAVIOR in the Milieu. Results from all trainees who completed this measure during the Basic Training and the TTT showed a significant gain in self-reported staff behavior in the milieu that was indicative of a Risking Connection and trauma-sensitive approach. A sample item from this measure is: Staff talk with peers and supervisors about their strong positive and negative reactions to clients and doing this work.
FUTURE QUESTIONS. While the data suggests that staff report actually BEHAVING differently with children as a result of RC training, more data needs to be collected on this and we need to determine in this behavior changes is sustained over time. We also need to collect more data about whether change in staff knowledge, beliefs, and behavior actually translates into improved outcomes for clients and families. Finally, we plan to collect data on whether RC training lessens the impact of secondary trauma/vicarious trauma on treaters of traumatized kids. Stay tuned for information about if and where our results get published.