;

Child Advocacy Center Hosts Training For First Responders

FULTON, NY – The Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County recently hosted a training seminar / workshop for first responders and school counselors.

Entitled, Debriefing vs. Psychological First Aid; Compare, Contrast & Consider, the informative workshop explored the impact of first responders on the mental health of victims immediately after a violent crime or traumatic event.

Executive Director, Olivia VanSanford (left) and Stacy Austin-Root, LMHC of the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County meet with Duane Bowers, LPC prior to special training seminar / workshop that the CAC hosted for first responders and school counselors.
Executive Director, Olivia VanSanford (left) and Stacy Austin-Root, LMHC of the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County meet with Duane Bowers, LPC prior to special training seminar / workshop that the CAC hosted for first responders and school counselors.

The workshop also explored the impact of first responders from the perspective of the ‘debriefing controversy,’ the idea that debriefing does more harm than good, and the resulting emphasis on Psychological First Aid, focusing on how to move forward rather than looking back at the event, as the appropriate alternative.

“We are happy to have been able to offer this training seminar,” said Executive Director of the CAC, Olivia VanSanford. “During the workshop we discussed the theory, objectives, and the core activities and interventions of each modality. The presentation also included information on basic neuroscience and brain functioning.”

Duane Bowers, LPC, a traumatic loss therapist and educator in private practice facilitated the training.

He is the author of “Guiding Your Family Through Loss and Grief” and “A Child is Missing: Providing Support for Families of Missing Children.”

Bowers teaches seminars nationally and internationally on dying, death and grief, as well as trauma, post traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic loss.

An accomplished educator, Bowers has also served as an adjunct professor of counseling at Trinity College in Washington, D.C. and has been a guest lecturer for graduate and undergraduate classes at the University of Maryland, Howard University, John Hopkins University, George Washington University, Gallaudet University.

“We are fortunate to have had such an accomplished educator as Mr. Bowers as the facilitator for our workshop,” VanSanford said. “His insight and teaching methods proved to be very valuable and were appreciated by the first responders and school counselors who attended the workshop.”

VanSanford added that workshop participants were encouraged to develop their own victim interaction strategy to elicit the information and responses they need from victims while minimizing the traumatic affect on the victim in the process.

Participants were also taught to understand the difference between debriefing and psychological first aid had the opportunity to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, and be able to identify interventions from each modality.

The seminar, which was offered free of charge, was made possible through funding from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

Established in 2001, the CAC is a safe, child-friendly site for the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse.

For more information on the CAC, call 592-4453.