Phoenix Australia is delivering a suite of trauma-informed training programs to support frontline workers in bushfire-affected regions.
Since 2007, Phoenix Australia has trained multi-disciplinary practitioners in evidence-based interventions and treatments. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, our training team brought forward plans to move the training programs online.
Advancing evidence-informed practice and treatment to support people who experience trauma is an important strategic goal, and a major means to achieve this is through the education and training of practitioners and other professionals. In the past 14 years, around 3000 people have attended our public, face-to-face training programs in locations around Australia, with many hundreds more attending a training program tailored specifically to their organisation’s needs.
To make our training accessible to more people, particularly outside major cities, it has been a goal to provide our core programs in an online format.
The restrictions imposed in 2020 due to COVID-19 meant that we were compelled to prioritise and accelerate that move.
The past year we have been busy implementing the infrastructure necessary to provide online training courses, and modifying the content of our key programs to an online format.
We developed a number of specific online training packages for clients including Bushfire Recovery, Victoria Police, and several health services.
Psychological First Aid and Trauma-informed Care
Late in 2020, we launched the online versions of our foundation courses, Psychological First Aid (PFA) and Trauma-informed Care (TIC). They are suited to a range of people with no or minimal mental health skills training, but are also suitable for mental health practitioners.
Psychological First Aid is a practical, flexible, and recommended approach to helping people in the aftermath of trauma. It helps to reduce the initial distress and assists people to cope better in the days and weeks following a traumatic event, such as a disaster, workplace accident, or assault. Helpers trained in PFA ensure safety, provide emotional comfort and support, and offer practical advice and assistance to address people’s immediate needs.
Trauma-informed Care is particularly suited to use in community-based settings, providing a framework for understanding, responding, and aiding the recovery of people affected by trauma. TIC helps build a sense of safety, control and empowerment, using strengths-based interventions that can be delivered by a range of providers. TIC modules include how to safely talk about trauma, simple strategies to teach people to help them deal with their distress, how to foster independence and recovery, and encourage connection with others.
Trauma-Focussed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
In March, we will be launching the Certificate in Trauma-Focussed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (tf-CBT). This course incorporates and replaces our two former face-to-face programs in Trauma-Focussed Therapy: Working with Adults and Working with Children and Adolescents. The new tf-CBT course will provide a single, evidence-based, flexible and comprehensive course for mental health professionals working with individuals with PTSD. Participants will be able to individualise their learning activities according to the client group they typically work with.
Associate Professor Leanne Humphreys, Director of Training and Workforce Development says, “2020 was a fabulous opportunity for us to really consider how we might deliver a rich, active online learning experience. We decided to structure the online courses as flexible, self-paced learning with opportunities for skills practice, reflective learning and application, as well as options to incorporate live tailored webinars and Communities of Practice forums.”
Initial feedback on the online courses has been very positive, such as these two comments from recent participants:
“Really helpful to have this online rather than have to wait for an in-person course. It also gives more flexibility to break the course up / take breaks on my terms. Liked the mix of video, audio, reading AND the way that you’ve incorporated reflection and doing practical exercises. I really enjoyed the addition of the activities to work on myself, and the videos were great!”
“We have big plans for our Training and Workforce Development area. We will continue to add to our range of self-paced online courses, including a course on Complex PTSD. In addition, we are working on developing training pathways and a competency development framework. Watch this space!”
For more information, visit training.phoenixaustralia.org.