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Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists

Archive for October 2010

A Recap of Our Recent Articles

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For those of you who haven’t visited us recently, here’s a little review of some of our most recent posts:

Disaster Preparedness: Don’t Forget About the Kids“:

The recent natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have especially highlighted the need for more preparation and relief efforts designed specifically for children:

In August 2009, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate established a Children’s Working Group responsible for ensuring that the needs of children are addressed and integrated into all disaster planning, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts initiated at the federal level. To help with this effort, the working group partnered with LLIS.gov to create this Children and Disasters resource page, which will help LLIS.gov members understand the need for special recognition of children in emergency planning…

An Interview With Our President“:

The president of ATSS that is…

Before our conference earlier this month, I had a chance to ask ATSS President Kent Laidlaw a few questions about the upcoming conference and the future direction of the organization.

If there’s one message, one image that ATSS wants to project to the world, what is it?

That we are a reputable presence in the world of trauma that provides a highly-respected choice of professional certifications to those who work in the field in so many difference yet important ways.

Homeless Vets on Last Evening’s 60 Minutes“:

Back in 1988 when former veteran, now clinical psychologist, Jon Nachison and his colleague Robert van Keuren created a gathering place for struggling Vietnam vets, you can bet their hope was that they wouldn’t still be doing it some 20 years later.

Unfortunately, every year since then, the campout, described as “part job fair, part health clinic, part sobriety meeting,” has offered hope for many veterans who think their country has forgotten about them. The annual campout, known as “Stand Down,” is further proof that our country is still not equipped or prepared to handle our returning veterans.

Last evening, 60 Minutes aired a segment where they traveled to Stand Down; talked to its organizers and talked to some of the homeless vets. One interesting thing that the segment talked about was the increasing number of homeless female veterans

Survey Participants Needed: Siblings of Murder Victims“:

Developmental psychologist Susan Tasker of the University of Victoria is looking for individuals to participate in her upcoming research. Tasker is seeking siblings of murder victims so that she and her team can reveal a greater understanding of the short and long-term effects of this type of trauma.

Conducting research on topics such as this is never easy, but it’s important. It’s always the hope of researchers, like Tasker, that the findings of this study, and studies like this one, will help serve those suffering from these traumatic experiences, now and into the future.

What do researchers already know about siblings of murder victims?

The Conference Was A Huge Success!“:

There’s no question that this year’s conference was a huge success! ATSS would love to thank every single person who contributed to the 2010 conference. A lot of people went above and beyond to make sure this year’s conference went off without a hitch.

Now that we’ve all had some time to decompress from those busy couple of days, it’s time to get back to work promoting the organization and its mission.

We want to invite anyone who attended this year’s conference to share your thoughts and reactions. What were your favorite workshops, who were your favorite presenters, how can we improve for next time?

Written by traumalines

October 25, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Disaster Preparedness: Don’t Forget About the Kids

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The recent natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have especially highlighted the need for more preparation and relief efforts designed specifically for children:

In August 2009, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate established a Children’s Working Group responsible for ensuring that the needs of children are addressed and integrated into all disaster planning, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts initiated at the federal level. To help with this effort, the working group partnered with LLIS.gov to create this Children and Disasters resource page, which will help LLIS.gov members understand the need for special recognition of children in emergency planning.

Children make up about 25 percent of the U.S.’s entire population. This portion of our population needs special attention in all facets of disaster preparation and relief. Most notably, disaster relief specialists must prepare for the possibility that a child’s caretaker could be injured or even killed in a disaster. Furthermore, a child’s reaction to trauma is quite different from that of an adult’s. Children are exposed to all the same images and stresses as everyone else following a disaster, and officials are taking great strides to make sure they’re prepared to handle that.

If you recall back in early February, just after the earthquake in Haiti, we wrote a post titled “Earthquake’s Impact on the Haitian Children“:

Some children are overreacting; others have blocked it completely from their minds,” said Norah Salnave of the Haitian Association of Psychologists. “It’s not only the trauma, but a lot have lost their parents, brothers and sisters. That’s a tremendous thing for a child to process.”

In a country where possibilities and opportunities are already vastly limited, the January quake has only made these struggles more profound. These children have experienced the loss of family, gruesome injuries, and displacement from their homes and schools. Experts are concerned that the high number of amputees could make future employment very difficult in a country where manual labor represents a predominant portion of the work force.

Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS.gov) has developed a “one-stop shop for guidance documents, training programs, and lessons learned from exercises and real-world incidents involving children.”

While the documentation they have amassed is quite extensive, they’re still searching for ways to improve their resources:

Please take time to improve your community: submit after-action reports, Practice Notes, Lessons Learned, plans, templates, strategies, and other relevant information.

Written by traumalines

October 21, 2010 at 8:35 pm

An Interview With Our President

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The president of ATSS that is…

Before our conference earlier this month, I had a chance to ask ATSS President Kent Laidlaw a few questions about the upcoming conference and the future direction of the organization.

If there’s one message, one image that ATSS wants to project to the world, what is it?

That we are a reputable presence in the world of trauma that provides a highly-respected choice of professional certifications to those who work in the field in so many difference yet important ways.

What’s your number one goal for this year’s conference?

To provide a superb learning experience on interesting topics from a variety of diverse and well-qualified presenters in a safe, respectful and fun environment.

What are you looking forward to the most about the 2010 conference?

The opportunity to meet so many new participants and renew acquaintances with many of our previous participants. Learn a lot of new information, develop new tools and have fun.

In what areas does ATSS need to improve?

In developing an awareness from others in the trauma field that we exist and the quality of our certifications. We also need to develop more collaborative relationships with other like-minded, reputable organizations. We need to change how we have traditionally operated …

What is ATSS’ greatest strength?

The quality of our members, the generosity of time and talent from our volunteer board combined with the valuable certification opportunities.

Within the next year, how will ATSS change?

We will be much more proactive. We will be more visible. We will narrow our focus and do more of what we do well and not try to be all things to all people. We will expand our Board of Directors while being as open and transparent as we can. We need a much stronger commitment from our membership and will have higher expectations from our membership base in terms of contributing to our future development. We must at the same time provide a committed and dynamic leadership model from our Board.

Conference attendees — tell us your reactions to ATSS’ 2010 conference; did we meet the goals our president laid out for us?

ATSS members — we’d love to hear your answers to the same questions asked to Kent. Leave us a comment below.

Written by traumalines

October 19, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Homeless Vets on Last Evening’s 60 Minutes

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Back in 1988 when former veteran, now clinical psychologist, Jon Nachison and his colleague Robert van Keuren created a gathering place for struggling Vietnam vets, you can bet their hope was that they wouldn’t still be doing it some 20 years later.

Unfortunately, every year since then, the campout, described as “part job fair, part health clinic, part sobriety meeting,” has offered hope for many veterans who think their country has forgotten about them. The annual campout, known as “Stand Down,” is further proof that our country is still not equipped or prepared to handle our returning veterans.

Last evening, 60 Minutes aired a segment where they traveled to Stand Down; talked to its organizers and talked to some of the homeless vets. One interesting thing that the segment talked about was the increasing number of homeless female veterans:

“The number of female veterans has doubled in the last decade,” says Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. In fact, she says female soldiers are two times more likely to become homeless than male veterans.

Here’s the Stand Down segment from 60 Minutes:

Written by traumalines

October 18, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Survey Participants Needed: Siblings of Murder Victims

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Developmental psychologist Susan Tasker of the University of Victoria is looking for individuals to participate in her upcoming research. Tasker is seeking siblings of murder victims so that she and her team can reveal a greater understanding of the short and long-term effects of this type of trauma.

Conducting research on topics such as this is never easy, but it’s important. It’s always the hope of researchers, like Tasker, that the findings of this study, and studies like this one, will help serve those suffering from these traumatic experiences, now and into the future.

What do researchers already know about siblings of murder victims?

“We know anecdotally that these voices are silent and these children struggle,” Tasker said Thursday in announcing her study on the long-term effects murder has on the development and functioning of siblings.

The victim’s family is investigated in a very public manner between the media, the police investigation and the judicial process, she said.

Parents may be physically present, but often are not emotionally present for the siblings of their murdered child, according to Tasker.

What is Tasker looking to find out?

The physical and psychological trauma can last for years, she said. There’s little research available on the immediate and long-term impact of such murders on remaining siblings.

Participants will be sought through national homicide victim or bereavement groups, according to The Victoria Times Colonist. Participants may also apply directly to Tasker or de Villiers at stasker@uvic.ca or research.priscilladevilliers@gmail.com.

Written by traumalines

October 7, 2010 at 8:46 pm

The Conference Was A Huge Success!

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There’s no question that this year’s conference was a huge success! ATSS would love to thank every single person who contributed to the 2010 conference. A lot of people went above and beyond to make sure this year’s conference went off without a hitch.

Now that we’ve all had some time to decompress from those busy couple of days, it’s time to get back to work promoting the organization and its mission.

We want to invite anyone who attended this year’s conference to share your thoughts and reactions. What were your favorite workshops, who were your favorite presenters, how can we improve for next time?

We’re going to be adding some of the photos we took from this year’s conference and discussing it more in detail in the coming days…stay tuned.

Written by traumalines

October 5, 2010 at 8:29 pm

LIVE at ATSS’ 2010 Conference: Day 3

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It’s the third and final day of the 2010 conference. After this afternoon’s training sessions, it will be another two full years until the entire organization comes together for another ATSS conference. During our lunch break today, ATSS board members Diane Travers and Barbara Maurer led a presentation titled “Everything You Need to Know About ATSS Certification.”

The main reason individuals become members of ATSS, is for the certifications that the organization offers. ATSS offers three certifications: Certified Trauma Responder (CTR), Certified Trauma Service Specialist (CTSS) and Certified Trauma Specialist (CTS).

ATSS’ certifications have some of the most stringent and rigid set of standards in the trauma industry. Why? Once you attain one of our certifications, the incredibly-high educational and professional standard that you have been held to, will lend added credibility to the work you’re already doing.

How do I know which certification is right for me?

Since the three certifications aren’t built into a tiered system, “You should pick whichever certification describes your work the best,” explained Travers. Once you determine which certification is right for you, you need to get your documentation in order and submit it to ATSS. Let’s take a brief look at each certification individually:

Certified Trauma Responder:

The Certified Trauma Responder (CTR) is appropriate for those engaged in critical incident intervention, debriefing, or emergency response. The standards for experience and education are detailed in the Minimum Standards Training and Education Form. You should review the criteria with your sponsor to ensure you meet the minimum standards.

Documentation of Experience: Resume: A current resume indicating your current employment or volunteer position in a field or position which includes trauma-related/crisis intervention work. This information will usually include a position involving work with domestic violence, schools, crime victim’s services, rape crisis, crisis lines, hospice, chaplaincy, disaster services, child victims, combat veteran’s, police, fire personnel, emergency medical services, corrections, Red Cross, and trauma service ministries. Other trauma-related counseling and service positions may also qualify for experience. Consult your sponsor if you are unsure. The resume must clearly indicate a minimum of 40 hours of experience as a member of a crisis response team.

Certified Trauma Service Specialist:

The Certified Trauma Services Specialists (CTSS) is appropriate for those engaged in short term traumatic stress assistance, peer counseling, advocacy, and crisis support and response for victims, family members, co-victims, and survivors of trauma. The standards for experience and education are detailed in the application packet. You should review the criteria with your sponsor to ensure you meet the minimum standards.

Documentation of Experience: Resume: A current resume indicating your current employment or volunteer position in a field or position which includes trauma-related/crisis intervention work. This information will usually include a position involving work with domestic violence, schools, crime victim’s services, rape crisis, crisis lines, hospice, chaplaincy, disaster services, child victims, combat veteran’s, police, fire personnel, emergency medical services, corrections, Red Cross, and trauma service ministries. Other trauma-related counseling and service positions may also qualify for experience. Consult your sponsor if you are unsure. The resume must clearly indicate a minimum of one-year experience.

Certified Trauma Specialist:

The Certified Trauma Specialist (CTS) is appropriate for counselors and treatment specialists are facilitators of trauma recovery groups, hypnotherapists, art or drama therapists, individuals who provide Thought Field Therapy, Traumatic Incident Reduction, EMDR, meridian based therapy’s, individual, group, and/or family counseling to trauma survivors. The standards for education are detailed in the application. You should review the criteria with your sponsor to ensure you meet the minimum requirements.

Documentation of Experience: Experience Form application. Fill out the experience section on the first page of the CTS application. Be sure the information matches your resume. Resume: A current resume/vitae must be included which documents the above mentioned information and elaborates on trauma population.

There’s so much more to read and learn about the ATSS certifications. CLICK HERE to find out all the details.

Written by traumalines

October 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm