Working with Trauma with Veterans, First Responders & Emergency Workers

The following advanced Intensive will introduce students to a trauma informed best practice model that covers the core principles of safe and effective trauma work supporting clients that have experienced trauma as a result of their experience in the Armed Forces, Ambulance and other Emergency first responder roles. This 5-day intensive will explore how trauma develops uniquely for clients within the context of these specific work settings.

Participants will develop a working understanding of the principles of safe embodied resourcing, that resets the nervous system, cultivates safe body awareness, mindful attention, tracking and supporting nervous system regulation, and structured reprocessing of traumatic events, fostering corrective experiences for new learning and neural pathways. Participants will learn about Veterans’ experience of moral injury, what it is, and the impact of violating a person’s deepest and most closely held values, in service. Other important themes that are unique to veterans and first responders will be discussed. Participants will also be introduced to the concept of Post Traumatic Growth.

Participants will learn practical strategies for appropriately including horses in professional services, that help clients to reduce autonomic nervous system arousal, challenge unhelpful trauma generated beliefs, renegotiate trauma in safe and effective ways, and most importantly rebuilding connection and relationship to self, others, community as they re-negotiate experience of self and life, as a veteran or first responder.

This intensive will explore some of the important cultural and language issues that are crucial especially in building empathy and a sense that the practitioner understands the clients lived experience as a veteran or first responder. We will also explore the medico-legal aspects of working with these client groups.

Who is this training for?

This training is for you if you have already completed our EAL or EAP training and have a special interest in Trauma, and working with Veterans and First Responders, and their Families.

It is highly recommended that you have already completed our Advanced Training on Trauma and Attachment, as this training extends this advanced trauma material, into a specialist application with this unique client group/cohort. Applications will be assessed for suitability on a case by case basis.

How is the training delivered?

The format this training will be based on the use of equine experiential exercises, skills-based practice sessions, small group conversations, theory presentations, use of case material and discussions in the large group.


What are the Learning Objectives?

By the end of the 5-day intensive, participants will expect to:

  • Understand the definition of trauma, what a traumatic event is, and the psycho-biological process that lead to the development of Acute Stress Responses and Posttraumatic stress responses.
  • Have a thorough understanding of the Australian Guidelines for the treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and the Expert guidelines - Diagnosis and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in emergency service workers.
  • Have a thorough understanding of Moral Injury, and describe the cluster of symptoms that are similar to PTSD and result from personal experiences that violate a person’s deepest values and principles.
  • Gain an understanding of Post Traumatic Growth, what it is and how it is experienced.
  • Gain an understanding of best practice trauma informed treatment models that help clients renegotiate trauma without becoming re-traumatized.
  • Understand the role of the therapist in the process of healing and the vital importance of compassionate, attuned, presence in the development of a safe container, as the place where healing becomes possible.
  • Recognise the factors that often lead people into these types of careers and how these factors hinder or support the development of posttrauma symptoms.
  • Understand and build a solid understanding of the somatic, emotional and cognitive resources and skills a client requires to help negotiate trauma and how to cultivate these.
  • Understand and work with the pre-frontal cortex and the Window of Tolerance, the Trauma/Anxiety responses and help the client widen their Window of Tolerance and develop response flexibility.
  • Understand and work with avoidance and/ or re-experiencing to prevent re-traumatization and assist reprocessing thereby reducing the autonomic charge associated with these forms of trauma memory and assist the client safely integrate these memories.
  •  Learn how to use awareness and somatic mindfulness as a tool to complete, transform and integrate traumatic memories.
  • Learn how to work effectively with value polarities and other factors such as guilt, self-criticism and other pre-existing patterns of belief that often accompany traumatic symptoms.
  • Understand how to take a more active and directive role in therapy – through the use of psycho-education, pacing, resource building and ‘relational modulation’ of client’s autonomic nervous system.
  • Understand some of the cultural aspects of the various types of career to assist rapport building and empathy
  • Understand the vital importance of relationship in the healing process and how to integrate relationships into therapy.
  • Understand the medico-legal implications of working within the workers compensation system or with clients that may want to engage in litigation against their employer.
  • Utilise the learnings of the Intensive to build a self-care plan
  • Gain an understanding of a number of equine experiments that: Support the client to integrate traumatic memories in a safe way; Understand how to support clients to use bottom up and top down strategies for traumatic processing and symptom reduction.

Join one of our life changing programs today

Why Train with Us?

We are an established training organisation and have been training practitioners since 2011.

We have a unique brain-body and neuroscience approach to working with trauma and EAP, based on the EPI Model and Somatic Experiencing and other world-renowned trauma theorists and practitioners. Your trainers are highly qualified and experienced psychologists and trauma specialists who live and breathe this work.

This program is designed to support you as a practitioner to be personally and professionally competent in working with horses and humans for the purpose of transforming trauma, where the horses are honoured as teacher and co-facilitator.

We will support and challenge you to grow and feel ‘held’ as you grow into grounded and authentic practitioners. Our program sets a high standard for students, practitioners and the wider international community.

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