Staff Training

a group of hands and feet forming a circle in grass


When it comes to working with trauma and addiction, research in neurobiology has shown that action is more effective than talking. Moreover, in an era where people’s attention span is getting shorter and shorter, working visually is simply more engaging than reading. And if clients are going to fully grasp and integrate the information they’re being taught, then first getting them in the room and activating their thinking brain is critical.

So why would you have your staff running groups that only include written assignments and talking?

Training your team to use action methods can provide them with applicable skills they can use right away to help their clients be more present in treatment, and increase interest and engagement. This allows clients to better integrate the vital information that is being provided on topics like relapse prevention and living sober. When the curriculum feels repetitive to staff as a result of teaching it a number of times, it also can give them a new-found excitement about their own clinical work.

Techniques such as sociometry, doubling and empty chair work can be taught to your staff incrementally, providing them the opportunity to practice and master those skills in training, so that when they use it with clients and families, they do so having integrated the skills. Particular focus can be paid to keeping the techniques used within staff members’ scope of practice, to ensure effectiveness and safety when implementing it with clients, and building step-by-step on clinical skills, encouraging staff to continue to be innovative and creative in their work in treatment.


Treatment center support staff routinely spend the most amount of time with clients, and typically have the least amount of training. Despite this, treatment centers can’t function without them. So how can you better train support staff so that they are more prepared to do their job effectively?

Role training in action.

Through the technique of role training – actually practicing these skills in a supportive learning environment – support staff can practice and improve their skills, and increase their ability to engage and retain clients.

Topics can include:

-Deescalating angry or potentially rageful clients
-Motivating the unmotivated client
-Motivating potential ATA clients to stay in treatment
-Addressing their own countertransferential issues

In skills training seminars, employees will be guided through a process of practicing specific work-related skills to allow them to master what it takes to do their job. Skills training through action will allow support staff the opportunity to try out a number of different responses in a safe learning environment, and because they have worked out the “kinks” in a “professional laboratory,” when the situation arises on the job, employees will be well prepared to handle the challenge, feel empowered and confident, and perform better.

For more information please contact us.