Face the fight

International Trainings

Trainings for Mental Health Clinicians in Areas of Conflict

In a world often marred by conflict and trauma, the importance of mental health support cannot be overstated. That’s where the STRONG STAR Training Initiative steps in, providing invaluable assistance to mental health clinicians worldwide. Our mission is clear: to equip these professionals with evidence-based treatments for PTSD and the skills to support individuals in conflict-ridden areas.

The STRONG STAR Training Initiative has taken a multifaceted approach to meet the immediate needs of regions in turmoil. We’ve initiated a weekly virtual series of training sessions, featuring esteemed international experts in mental health. These sessions cover critical topics like trauma, grief, anger, compassion fatigue, and the ever-present uncertainty of life in conflict zones. Translation services, materials, and captioning are provided through Wordly in Arabic, Hebrew, French, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian and any other languages needed. We welcome all mental health clinicians to participate.

The work of our STRONG STAR Training Initiative in providing mental health support in conflict areas is deeply impactful. Our global reach, commitment to evidence-based therapies, and strategic partnerships are making a significant impact on mental health care worldwide, shining a light of hope in the midst of darkness.

Support Training for Mental Health Clinicians in Areas of Conflict

Psychosocial Support Resources

(English, Hebrew, and Arabic)

Close-Up Shot of the Flag of Ukraine

Collaborations in Ukraine

In October 2023, SSTI partnered with Dr. Israel Liberzon to conduct training in Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD for Ukrainian mental health clinicians. The SSTI team, comprised of Drs. Vanessa Jacoby, Tabatha Blount, Bailee Schuhmann, and Edward Wright, who delivered expert training to Ukrainian mental health clinicians to equip them with the necessary tools to address PTSD in their communities.

Rescuers on Ruins After Earthquake in Turkey

Collaborations in Turkey

One of their key achievements is the Training and Pilot study of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD, made possible through the coordination efforts of Dina Abdelrahman and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) in Houston. Starting in 2023, Dr. John Moring began collaborating with Dr. Ceren Acartürk at Koc University in Istanbul. Together they conducted training in Turkey and Jordan.

  • Turkey: Turkish mental health clinicians tasked with delivering intervention to those suffering from PTSD following recent earthquakes in Turkey.
  • Jordan: Jordanian and Syrian mental health clinicians who are offering crucial support to Syrian refugees in Jordan.
Dome of the Rock monument in Jerusalem.

Collaborations in Israel

Starting in 2021, Dr. Dondanville has been collaborating with Dr. Danny Derby at The Israeli Center for Cognitive Behavioral TherapyDr. Jonathan Huppert at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Israeli Ministry of Health to develop a long-term plan ensure access to evidence-based treatment for PTSD within the Israeli public sector. Israel, like many regions, faces the challenge of a lack of trained mental health therapists equipped to effectively treat PTSD. Thanks to initial support from a private donor and robust local partnerships, the initiative is set to launch a 2-year training program in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) in January 2024. This long-term initiative is critical for mental health therapists in Israel’s public sector, offering hope and healing to those suffering from trauma and PTSD.

[Click here for more information in Hebrew]

Upcoming Trainings

OCD and Trauma

Dean McKay, Ph.D., ABPP

Wednesday, February 21st, 2023

Tel Aviv (IDT): 8pm-10pm

CT 12pm-2pm

Obsessive-compulsive symptoms represent a unique complication in the treatment of trauma. It is only recently that clinicians have begun to systematically evaluate the nature of this complex co-occurring symptom profile. In this presentation, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) will be described, and the functional connection it may have following trauma. Further coverage of the common areas of behavioral avoidance, emotional reactions, and cognitive dimensions between OCD and trauma will be described. Finally, coverage of methods of adapting treatments for OCD and trauma will be covered. Ample time for discussion will be provided.

Dean McKay, Ph.D., ABPP is Professor of Psychology at Fordham University, is President (2018) of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology and Past President of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (2013-2014). He has published over 200 peer reviewed articles and book chapters, and is the editor or co-editor of 19 books. He is board certified in Clinical and Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology. In addition to his professorship, McKay co-directs the Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Research, a private group psychological practice.

Past Trainings

Understanding and Applying Principles of Psychological First Aid

Philip Held, PhD

Download the Presentation Slides Here

In this training session participants will learn about the principles of Psychological First Aid. Participants will learn to recognize potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems following exposure to traumatic or stressful events. Participants will gain the skills necessary to effectively assess and manage psychological distress in the immediate aftermath of traumatic or stressful events.

Objectives: 

  1. Recognize the potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems following trauma exposure.
  2. Describe the core principles of psychological first aid. 
  3. Understand how to use psychological first aid to support individuals who recently experienced trauma.

Dr. Held is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Held is also the Research Director of the Road Home Program: National Center of Excellence for Veterans and Their Families and Director of the TREAT (Treatment Response, Efficacy, Access, and Timing) Lab. As a health services researcher, Dr. Held is passionate about innovating mental health care treatments, especially as it relates to PTSD and other trauma-related disorders. His research focuses on examining the efficiency and effectiveness of evidence-based treatments for PTSD and other trauma related disorders such as substance use, mood, and anxiety disorders. Dr. Held’s goal is to develop briefer and more accessible treatments so more people can benefit from them. Additionally, his research aims to and identify ways to help those who do not respond to existing treatments. Dr. Held’s research combines clinical treatment with advanced statistics and analytics, such as machine learning, with the goal of being able to further tailor treatments and match an individual with the type and length of treatment in which they are most likely to succeed given their background and experiences.

How to Support Youth Exposed to Trauma and Traumatic Loss

Julie Kaplow, PhD, ABPP

Download the Presentation Slides Here

Given the devastating traumas and losses that youth continue to experience throughout Israel and Gaza, behavioral health providers are uniquely positioned to help identify and address the acute mental health needs of these children and provide timely support. This presentation will provide a high-level overview of how trauma and grief manifest in children and adolescents, how to identify those in need of mental health care, and how to utilize evidence-based, best practices to reduce their psychological distress.

Dr. Julie Kaplow is a licensed clinical psychologist, board certified in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. She serves as Executive Vice President of Trauma and Grief Programs and Policy at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and Executive Director of the Trauma and Grief (TAG) Center at The Hackett Center for Mental Health in Houston. Dr. Kaplow is also Executive Director of the TAG Center at Children’s Hospital New Orleans and Professor of Psychiatry at Tulane University School of Medicine. She is also CEO of the Lucine Center for Trauma and Grief, a group practice that provides no-cost teletherapy to youth exposed to traumas and losses across the states of Texas and Louisiana. In these roles, she oversees the development and evaluation of treatments for traumatized and bereaved youth and disseminates trauma- and bereavement-informed “best practices” to community providers nationwide. Following tragedies such as Hurricane Harvey and the Santa Fe school shooting, Dr. Kaplow and her team provided evidence-based risk screening and interventions to impacted children and families. More recently, they have been conducting and coordinating trainings for school- and community-based clinicians throughout Uvalde, Texas following the Robb Elementary School shooting.

Practical Skills for Brief Cognitive Intervention for Trauma Reactions

Patricia Resick, PhD, ABPP

Download the Presentation Slides Here

This 90-minute workshop will help providers identify important Stuck Points, thoughts that people can’t get past. Then picking the most important Stuck Point, Dr. Resick will explain and demonstrate how to implement Socratic Dialogue to help them examine the facts and context and develop a more balanced thought. With the change in thinking, emotions and PTSD symptoms should be decreased.

Patricia A. Resick, Ph.D., ABPP is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University. Dr. Resick received her Doctorate in Psychology from the University of Georgia. Over her career, she also served on the faculties of the University of South Dakota, the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she held an endowed professorship, and Boston University.  For a decade Dr. Resick was the Director of the Women’s Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare System.  Dr. Resick has received grants from NIH, NIJ, CDC, SAMHSA, VA and DoD to provide services and conduct research on the effects of traumatic events, particularly on women, and to develop and test therapeutic interventions for PTSD. Specifically, she developed and tested Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), an effective short term treatment for PTSD and corollary symptoms. She has published nine books and over 250 journal articles and book chapters. Since 2006 she has been a leader of a national VA initiative to disseminate Cognitive Processing Therapy throughout the VA system and is currently working on five clinical trials in San Antonio and Ft. Hood, Texas, one at Duke, a large cooperative study in VA comparing CPT with PE, and consulting on several grants overseas.

Meaning-Centered Grief Therapy

Wendy G. Lichtenthal, PhD, FT

Meaning-Centered Grief Therapy Slides

The loss of someone significant commonly challenges a griever’s sense of purpose, meaning, and identity as well as adaptive meaning-making processes. This presentation will describe applications of a manualized therapeutic approach, Meaning-Centered Grief Therapy (MCGT), which has been developed for and evaluated with bereaved parents, though has applicability to other grieving populations. MCGT helps parents recognize their ability to choose their attitude in the face of suffering, to connect with sources of meaning in their lives, to choose how they construct narratives related to their lives and their loss, and to remain connected to their deceased child. Cases will be discussed, and how to adapt the intervention’s principles and exercises to various common clinical scenarios that grievers face will be explored.

Learning Objectives:

  1.     To identify meaning-making challenges that grievers, and bereaved parents in particularly, commonly face.
  2.     To describe the core principles of Meaning-Centered Grief Therapy.
  3.     To describe exercises designed to facilitate meaning-making.

Wendy G. Lichtenthal, PhD, FT is Director of the Center for the Advancement of Bereavement Care at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Associate Professor, Pending Rank, in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Prevention Science and Community Health at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and has worked as a grief specialist for 20 years. Since 2005, she has been at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York City, where she was Founding Director of the Bereavement Clinic and Associate Attending Psychologist, and where she now serves as Consultant Faculty. She completed her undergraduate studies at The University of Chicago, her doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, her clinical psychology internship at the Payne Whitney Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine, and a postdoctoral research fellowship in psycho-oncology at MSK, where she was Chief Research Fellow. She was a recipient of the 2012 International Psycho-Oncology Society Kawano New Investigator Award, the 2019 Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) Research Recognition Award, and the 2023 American Psychosocial Oncology Society Outstanding Clinical Care Award. She is a Fellow in Thanatology and was elected to the ADEC Board of Directors in 2023. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Nursing Research, American Cancer Society, T.J. Martell Foundation, and MSK’s Cycle for Survival and has focused on grief and bereavement, cancer survivorship, meaning-making, identifying grieving family members in greatest need of support, and intervention development and evaluation.

  1.     Lichtenthal WG, Catarozoli C, Masterson M, Slivjak E, Schofield E, Roberts KE, Neimeyer RA, Wiener L, Prigerson HG, Kissane DW, Li Y, Breitbart W. An open trial of Meaning-Centered Grief Therapy: Rationale and preliminary evaluation. Palliat Support Care, 2019; 17(1):2-12.
  2.     Lichtenthal WG, Lacey S, Roberts K, Sweeney C, Slivjak E. Meaning-Centered Grief Therapy. In Breitbart W (Ed.), Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy (pp.88-99). New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017
  3. Lichtenthal WG, Breitbart, W. The central role of meaning in adjustment to the loss of a child to cancer: Implications for the development of Meaning-Centered Grief Therapy. Curr Opin Support Palliat Care 2015; 9(1):46-51
  4.     Lichtenthal WG, Breitbart, W. Finding meaning through the attitude one takes. In R. A. Neimeyer (Ed.), Techniques in Grief Therapy: Creative Strategies for Counseling the Bereaved (pp. 161-164). New York: Routledge; 2012

5.     Lichtenthal WG, Roberts KE, Catarozoli C, Schofield E, Holland JM, Fogarty JJ, Coats TC, Barakat LP, Baker JN, Brinkman TM, Neimeyer RA, Prigerson HG, Zaider T, Breitbart W, Wiener L. Regret and unfinished business in parents bereaved by cancer: a mixed methods study. Palliative Medicine 2020; 34(3):367-377.

Using Motivational Interviewing to help with Early Trauma Responses

Debra Kaysen, PhD, ABPP

Denise Walker, PhD

MI and PTSD Presentation Slides

Motivational interviewing is a highly effective therapeutic approach in addressing health risk behaviors and in improving mental health symptoms. These strategies have begun to be applied to address trauma-related symptoms such as PTSD. After reviewing core tenets of motivational interviewing, Drs. Walker and Kaysen will discuss application to the treatment of individuals exposed to traumatic events. Drs. Walker and Kaysen will discuss how to incorporate use of motivational interviewing principles, across various phases of trauma recovery. In the acute phase following trauma exposure, motivational interviewing may be employed to help individuals clarify and prioritize immediate needs and to facilitate natural recovery. In the chronic stage of trauma response, motivational interviewing may be used to highlight a client’s reasons for changing maladaptive behaviors, can help facilitate treatment engagement, and help individuals move toward healthier coping patterns. Through examples and clinical scenarios, the presenters will illustrate how motivational interviewing may augment other therapeutic methodologies, such as psychological first aid and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Dr. Debra Kaysen received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Missouri. Dr. Kaysen joined the faculty at University of Washington in 2006 in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. While there she founded a program to develop and test more accessible interventions for individuals suffering from mental health symptoms following traumatic events. Dr. Kaysen joined the Stanford faculty in 2019. Dr. Kaysen’s area of specialty both in research and clinical work is in treatment for those who have experienced traumatic events including treatment of PTSD and related disorders. She has conducted critical studies on treatment of PTSD and/or substance use across a variety of populations (sexual minority women, Native Americans, sexual assault survivors, torture survivors, active duty military), settings (the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, primary care, rural settings), and modalities (telephone based, web-based). Other research conducted by Dr. Kaysen have focused on increasing our understanding of how PTSD and substance use may influence each other. Dr. Kaysen is a Past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (www.istss.org).

Dr. Kaysen is currently involved in helping develop and implement coping strategies for healthcare workers dealing with mental health concerns related to COVID-19. Dr. Kaysen’s clinical work has been featured on This American Life (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/682/ten-sessions).

Dr. Denise Walker is a Research Professor at the University of Washington, Director of the Innovative Programs Research Group, and a licensed clinical psychologist.  She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of New Mexico, completed her predoctoral internship at Yale University and her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington.  Dr. Walker is an expert in Motivational Interviewing, has been a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers since 2001, and regularly conducts trainings across the United States.  Her work focuses on the development and evaluation of interventions for cannabis and substance use disorders, PTSD and adaptations of Motivational Enhancement Therapy for high-risk populations.  She is a co-developer of the Stress Check, a Motivational Enhancement Therapy for active-duty military personnel with untreated PTSD.  Dr. Walker is also a Co-Investigator on a randomized controlled trial addressing PTSD and substance use among Native Americans and is the lead on the substance use psychotherapy condition.

Starting a Process of Healing and Repairing the Lifespan Impact of Moral Injury

Brett Litz, PhD

Download the Presentation Slides Here

Morally injurious experiences either creates chronic anger and distrust, altering the capacity for social connections to be valued and rewarding, or it leads to shame, withdrawal, loss of pride, purpose, and belonging, or both. The clinical challenge is to help people accept painful moral truths, and to help people start the lifelong process of mending their broken hearts, rebalance the scales of goodness vs. badness, and restore faith in humanity or their own humanity. I will describe some evidence-based strategies to help people do things in their lives that are corrective and healing.

Dr. Brett Litz is a clinical psychologist and Professor in the Department Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University and a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine. He is also a research psychologist at the VA Boston Healthcare System. Dr. Litz’s recent research entails the development of a new measure of moral injury as an outcome, a national epidemiological study of moral injury in US Veterans, a just completed VA funded multisite clinical trial testing an expanded version of Adaptive Disclosure, a treatment designed to treat moral injury and traumatic loss, and a program evaluation of Veterans Healing Veterans, a Norway model designed to heal trauma and moral injury among incarcerated Veterans in California State Prisons.  Dr. Litz is a fellow of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and the Association for Psychological Science.

Addressing Guilt and Shame Stemming from Trauma and Moral Injury in Psychotherapy

Brittany Cook Davis, PhD & Sonya Norman, PhD

Download the Presentation Slides Here

Guilt and shame stemming from trauma and moral injury can cause a great deal of suffering and psychosocial impairment. They are associated with PTSD, depression, suicide risk, and substance use. We will discuss a model for understanding this kind of guilt and shame and strategies for addressing them in psychotherapy. We will review specific cognitive and acceptance-based strategies from Trauma-Informed Guilt Reduction Therapy.

Dr. Sonya Norman is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. She also directs the U.S. National Center for PTSD’s PTSD Consultation Program where she leads a team of senior clinicians (psychologists, psychiatrists, pharmacists and social workers) who consult on over 2,000 questions a year from healthcare professionals who treat veterans with PTSD. Dr. Norman is a clinical psychologist and a researcher in the treatment of PTSD and addictions, and in novel treatments to address trauma-related guilt, shame, and moral injury.  She previously directed a PTSD treatment program for U.S. Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Norman has over 200 publications related to PTSD and associated problems and is the principal investigator of research studies funded by several U.S. federal agencies. She served as a member of the U.S. Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs PTSD Clinical Practice Guideline workgroup in 2017 and 2023 and is an elected board member of the International Society of Traumatic Stress. She received her PhD from Stanford University.

Brittany Davis, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the University of South Florida and a clinical psychologist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She has been in the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs for over a decade with a primary focus on providing evidenced based treatment for PTSD and associated problems for combat and military related traumas; and previously worked for 6 years in a U.S. Department of Defense contracted residential facility providing evidence-based treatments for PTSD for the purpose of redeployment. Dr. Davis is personally invested in providing high quality care for active-duty service members, veterans, and first responders that have experienced trauma.  Dr. Davis is also a researcher in best practices for treatment of PTSD and addictions, and novel treatments to address trauma-related guilt, shame, and moral injury.  Dr. Davis serves as a local site investigator and co-investigator on several clinical trials with a focus on treatment of PTSD and associated problems funded through several U.S. federal agencies.

Emotional Processing in CBT: The View from Both Chairs

Dean McKay, PhD., ABPP

Download the Presentation Slides Here

Cognitive behavior therapy is a well established evidence-based approach for traumatic reactions. While it is described as a procedure, with defined techniques, less appreciated is the emotional processing of therapists administering it. This training aims to cover the dyadic processing that represents the full emotional processing capabilities of this scientifically-grounded treatment modality.

Dean McKay, Ph.D., ABPP is Professor of Psychology at Fordham University, is President (2018) of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology and Past President of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (2013-2014). He has published over 200 peer reviewed articles and book chapters, and is the editor or co-editor of 19 books. He is board certified in Clinical and Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology. In addition to his professorship, McKay co-directs the Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Research, a private group psychological practice.

Traumatic Loss: Therapeutic Intervention at the Interface Between Grief and Trauma

Ruth Malkinson, PhD

Dr. Ruth Malkinson PhD is a clinical social worker, Director of training at the International Laboratory for Bereavement and Mental Resilience, University of Haifa, She is the chair of Mitra REBT center, Ruth was the chair of the Association for Couples and Family Therapy. She is engaged in teaching, research, treatment and supervision in the area of trauma and traumatic grief and developed a model for cognitive therapy for traumatic loss and complications of grief (PGD). Her publications and those of her colleagues Professor Rubin and Professor Weitzum include articles and books. Their latest book “The many faces of loss and bereavement: Theory and Therapy” was published in 2016.

The Interpersonal Cost of Trauma and Bolstering Social Self-Efficacy: Tools from Interpersonal Psychotherapy for PTSD (IPT-PTSD)

Ari Lowell, PhD

Download the Presentation Slides Here

Research overwhelmingly shows lack of social support and feeling incapable, alone, and “other” to be among the most significant risk factors for developing PTSD following trauma exposure, yet our preferred treatments often do not prioritize these components. Fortunately, just as lack of social effectiveness is a risk factor for PTSD, treatment of the same is a pathway to healing and may lead to remarkable symptom improvement and recovery. This presentation will provide a very brief introduction to Interpersonal Psychotherapy for PTSD and focus primarily on interpersonal assessment and the practical, in-session steps of helping victims of trauma identify their feelings, learn to validate them, and explore options for engaging interpersonal challenges. Case examples will be discussed.

Ari Lowell, PhD is a clinical psychologist specializing in the assessment and treatment of trauma and depression. He has provided treatment and program administration for Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals since 2019, including as Program Manager of Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP) at multiple VA centers and Program Manager of the PTSD Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (PTSD-RRTP) at Lt. Col. Luke Weathers, Jr. VA Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee. He is also Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Previously he served as Associate Director of the Columbia Veterans Center, part of the PTSD Research and Treatment Program at New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irvine Medical Center in New York. He has been involved in numerous research efforts into the causes and impact of PTSD, has published and presented on PTSD, trauma, Interpersonal Psychotherapy for PTSD, and Equine-Assisted Therapy for PTSD, and was grant-funded to provide treatment to military veterans and their families. He has also treated and conducted research concerning first responders and others directly impacted by the events of 9/11.

Getting Unstuck from “Shoulds” and Processing Anger

Katy Dondanville, Psy.D., ABPP

This training will focus on the role and function of anger in the aftermath of trauma and processing anger. The training will provide strategies on getting unstuck from “shoulds”- “They should have protected us”; “I should have responded differently”; “This shouldn’t be happening.” Dr. Dondanville will explain and demonstrate how to implement Socratic Dialogue to help them examine the facts and context and develop more helpful and balanced thoughts.

Katy Dondanville, Psy.D., ABPP, is an Associate Professor and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Dondanville is the Director of the STRONG STAR Training Initiative which is a grant funded implementation and dissemination program for evidence-based psychological treatments. Since 2017, Training Initiative has trained more than 2000 mental health providers across 44 states, Canada, England, Columbia, Turkey, Jordan, Ukraine, and Israel disseminating evidence-based treatments to thousands of individuals with PTSD, suicide, insomnia, and nightmares. She has consulted with numerous community organizations and clinicians regarding the successful implementation of evidence-based treatments. Dr. Dondanville is the Chief Scientific Advisor to the USAA founded Face the Fight social impact effort aimed to reduce veteran suicide. As the Technical Assistance Team Director, Dr. Dondanville leads the UT Health San Antonio team to support implementation of evidence-informed interventions and strategies for suicide prevention with nonprofit organizations across the country. Dr. Dondanville is the Chair of the Face the Fight Scientific Advisory Committee which provides expert input to continuously inform and update the Strategic Approach across the interconnected components of Face the Fight. Dr. Dondanville’s research focus is on improving access to and the delivery of evidence-based treatments. She is an experienced mentor of junior faculty and 25 clinical psychology postdoctoral fellows. She has published over 100 scientific manuscripts and given over 150 presentations at research conferences and meetings.

Crisis Response Planning for Suicide Prevention – A Tool for Mental Health Providers

David Rozek, PhD, ABPP & Brooke A. Fina, LCSW, BCD

Traumatic experiences can profoundly impact an individual’s mental health and increase the risk of suicidal ideation and behaviors. In this webinar, mental health providers will gain practical techniques for developing personalized Crisis Response Plans with clients to reduce suicide risk and promote resilience. The Crisis Response Plan is a brief, evidence-based intervention that guides individuals in creating a problem-solving tool, including warning signs, self-management skills, reasons for living, social support, and professional services. Key topics covered in this webinar include understanding the link between trauma, PTSD, and suicide risk, tailoring CRPs for at-risk clients, and guiding clients through the CRP process.

 

Objectives:

  1. Identify when to engage someone in a crisis response plan.
  2. Describe the core components of a crisis response plan.
  3. Discuss and demonstrate an effective crisis response plan.

David Rozek, PhD, ABPP, is an Associate Professor and a clinical psychologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He serves as the Director of Strategy and Evaluation for the STRONG STAR Training Initiative and the Senior Scientific Advisor for Face the Fight. He received his PhD from the University of Notre Dame and completed his residency at the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Prior to joining the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Dr. Rozek held positions at the University of Central Florida as the Director of the National Center of Excellence for First Responder Behavioral Health at UCF RESTORES and at the University of Utah in the Department of Psychiatry with a secondary appointment as the Director of Training at the National Center for Veterans Studies. Dr. Rozek’s research and clinical expertise are in cognitive and behavioral therapies for suicide, depression, and PTSD. He regularly provides training to clinicians, medical professionals, peers support specialist, and mental health allies on best practices when working with individuals who are at risk for suicide and is an active researcher focusing on how to best improve clinical care.

Brooke A. Fina, LCSW, BCD, is an Associate Professor within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UT Health San Antonio and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is the Director of Behavioral Health Training Initiatives for the STRONG STAR Training Initiative, a national program dedicated to providing access to quality, evidence-based treatment to clinicians and organizations that service trauma exposed populations. She is a clinician, trainer, and facilitates the implementation of treatment programs for PTSD and suicide. She specializes in Prolonged Exposure (PE) as a trainer and consultant, and in Crisis Response Plan for suicide prevention. As a part of the leadership team of the Training Initiative, she is a subject matter expert in the training and implementation of trauma focused treatment programs. She has consulted with 100s of mental health providers and community organizations regarding the successful implementation of PTSD treatment programs, consulted with managed care entities, and published outcomes in peer-reviewed journals.

Improving Sleep Among People Exposed to Trauma

Dr. Rachel Manber

The presentation will describe adaptation of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia when treating patients with trauma exposure, and will incorporate with element from acceptance and commitment therapy. The talk will also cover imagery rehearsal therapy to address nightmares and how to sequence the two.

Rachel Manber, Ph.D, DBSM, is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and co-director of the multidisciplinary Center for Sleep and Circadian Sciences. In addition, she directs of the Stanford Sleep Health and Insomnia Program (SHIP), where she provides behavioral sleep medicine interventions to adults as well as children and adolescents and mentors behavioral sleep medicine researchers and practitioners.  Her research is focused on insomnia and its treatment in specific populations.  Dr. Manber published over 150 peer-reviewed articles, as well as two self-help books and a book for clinician, describing a flexible case-formulation-based approach to CBTI.  A strong emphasis of her work is on the dissemination and implementation of CBTI, including her leadership in the nationwide CBTI training rollout in the VA and her research on stepped-care approaches that combine therapist and digitally delivered CBTI.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for nightmares can reduce the frequency and intensity of nightmares and improve sleep and daytime symptoms of PTSD and depression. This presentation will provide an overview of nightmare disorder and assessment procedures. It will also provide basic step-by-step procedures for implementing nightmare exposure exercises, dream rescription, and imagery rehearsal practice. 

Kristi Pruiksma, PhD is an Associate Professor and licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Her clinical and research work focuses on providing treatment, conducting clinical research, and supporting dissemination of evidence-based treatments for insomnia, nightmares, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In her role, she has served as a DoD-funded principal investigator, research therapist, supervisor, and trainer for the STRONG STAR Research Consortium (strongstar.org). Dr. Pruiksma has authored or co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters related in these fields.

Vicarious Trauma & Compassion Fatigue

Marisa B. Nowitz, MSW, LCSW-S

When mental health professionals are “impacted people helping impacted people,” the work can become so much more challenging . This presentation will explore how the indirect exposure to trauma and loss, while also being exposed directly, can affect mental health professionals who are providing services in Israel. Discussion will focus on strategies to help enhance compassion satisfaction, posttraumatic growth, and resilience for providers.

Marisa Nowitz, MSW, LCSW-S is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Supervisor with over  twenty years of clinical experience, as well as expertise in education, training, and program development. As Senior Director of School and Community Engagement at the Trauma and Grief (TAG) Center, Marisa directs the external training program and provides school and community-based trainings in a variety of mental health topics related to supporting youth exposed to trauma and loss. In her previous role at the TAG Center, Marisa supervised a clinical team and provided evidence-based, trauma- and bereavement-focused services as part of the coordinated response efforts in the community of Santa Fe, TX following the tragic school shooting in 2018.  Prior to joining the TAG Center, Marisa spent much of her career working as a clinical social worker and supervisor at MD Anderson Cancer Center, creating programming for children whose parents had cancer. Marisa completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Houston. 

 

Meaning-Centered Grief Therapy: Part II

Wendy G. Lichtenthal, PhD, FT

This training is a follow-up to Dr. Wendy Lichtenthal’s Part I presentation on Meaning Centered Grief Therapy (MCGT). This training will provide a more in-depth exploration of MCGT, a conceptually sound, telehealth-delivered therapy that focuses on helping individuals find a sense of meaning or purpose in their life after loss. As attendees follow the journey of MCGT, case material will be presented to illustrate didactics, exercises, and how MCGT can support individuals cope with guilt after a traumatic loss.

Wendy G. Lichtenthal, PhD, FT is Director of the Center for the Advancement of Bereavement Care at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Associate Professor, Pending Rank, in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Prevention Science and Community Health at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and has worked as a grief specialist for 20 years. Since 2005, she has been at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York City, where she was Founding Director of the Bereavement Clinic and Associate Attending Psychologist, and where she now serves as Consultant Faculty. She completed her undergraduate studies at The University of Chicago, her doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, her clinical psychology internship at the Payne Whitney Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine, and a postdoctoral research fellowship in psycho-oncology at MSK, where she was Chief Research Fellow. She was a recipient of the 2012 International Psycho-Oncology Society Kawano New Investigator Award, the 2019 Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) Research Recognition Award, and the 2023 American Psychosocial Oncology Society Outstanding Clinical Care Award. She is a Fellow in Thanatology and was elected to the ADEC Board of Directors in 2023. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Nursing Research, American Cancer Society, T.J. Martell Foundation, and MSK’s Cycle for Survival and has focused on grief and bereavement, cancer survivorship, meaning-making, identifying grieving family members in greatest need of support, and intervention development and evaluation.

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