The Aftermath Of A School Crisis


From the shooting at University of Alberta; to the horror of human remains sent to two Vancouver schools; or the UC Berkeley explosion; these are just the few recent examples of crises that schools have faced. Sadly traumatic events can happen at any elementary, high school, college or university, affecting the students, educators, administrators, and other staff. A traumatic effect can result in extreme feelings of fear that can overwhelm us. Responding to the aftermath of a school crisis, can be stressful and confusing. Being prepared with procedures and protocols can mean the difference between a school that is devastated with no guidance or one that works together to respond and recover.

Consider a shooting that occurs on school grounds leaving a few students injured. In response to this, how would does administration deal with the trauma? What message is given to the media? How would you handle the psychological needs of the students, parents, staff and the local community? How do you return to day-to-day operations after such an event? Often, the psychological trauma that dwells after the event is more difficult to deal with than a physical damage. There is no doubt of the importance of learning to respond to the aftermath of a school crisis.

Our School Crisis Response Certificate of Completion is available online in an on-demand format, so you can start anytime and anyplace. This skill foundation program is filled with practical tools and advice. Upon completion of this course, students can use the TITC-SCR designation (which stands for Traumatology Institute Training Curriculum, School Crisis Response).

To learn more about the School Crisis Response Certificate Program, click here:

What is Post Traumatic STREET Disorder?

Do you believe that a large percentage of kids living in a first world country are suffering from the same PTSD symptoms in kids living in war zones? VICE News recent documentary on the Gang Violence in LA reveals interview evidence to support this. The video takes us through the streets of South Central Los Angeles, giving us a glimpse of the cycles of gang violence spreading in the community.

Influenced by drug dealing, gangs, and violent death, these kids have learned to adapt to what is seen as the norm in this area. Whether it is ducking when a balloon pops at a party, thinking it was a bullet; or witnessing a death right beside you; these experiences are not unusual in some districts. As a result, some young people and adults experience numbness, constant anxiety, restlessness and traumatic flashbacks. Many choose to remain silent about their experiences rather than seek out help.  Some feel a constant sense of numbness and an inability to cope with their symptoms or memories and losses. These are the classic symptoms of PTSD.

Exposure to trauma at a young age greatly affects development. In classrooms, anger and violence shown in children may be a mask for deep seated traumatic response.  These affected youth may also show signs of great distress and restlessness, causing them to be unable to concentrate in the classroom, diminishing cognitive and emotional development.

In one screening from a high school in South Central LA, about half met or exceeded the diagnostic criterion for PTSD.  Post Traumatic Stress symptoms in children in America were found to be close to or even more prominent than children in some war torn areas.  It is a challenge to handle the symptoms of PTSD alone. Having a vivid flashback of your friend’s last breath is traumatizing, but choosing to suppress it may make the problems even worse.  When we don’t learn how to work through our trauma history it has the power to shape us for the rest of our lives.  This will leave us shaken and upset with reminders that are more about the past than the present.  This can result in a struggle to make the most of our lives today.

Seeking out the right help to deal with these situations can mean the difference between a life constantly on edge or one where we learn to heal from the past.  There are many who are trained to help.

Want information about the Trauma Treatment Online Program?  Visit:

Neuroplasticity: The Truth in PTSD Recovery


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Neuroplasticity, by definition, is the brain’s ability to form new neural connections to heal from an injury or disease. That being said, the brain can change whenever you experience a new event, whether good or bad. Perhaps you are a war survivor, or you lost a loved one, any traumatic event can alter the neural connections in your brain, resulting in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You may experience flashbacks, causing you to experience the same horrendous event over and over again. Sometimes, your brain magnifies the situation even more  and may create, to an extent, a distorted perception due to your subjective experience and heightened emotions. As a result, you may find yourself sleep deprived, constantly getting nightmares, and may even make you unable to handle social situations.

The truth is the brain likes change and is willing to change. Sometimes, it is us who do not allow our brain to change because we get stuck. We are unable to crawl out of this situation or escape this constant nightmare. However, every victim of PTSD must understand they are able to recover. A traumatic experience lead you to this hole, but remember, constant positive experiences can also change your brain through neuroplasticity as well. To learn more, Trauma Practice: Tools for Stabilization & Recovery (Baranowsky & Gentry, 3rd edition, in press) will be released shortly.  Including new exercises influenced by the research on Neuroplasticity.

Sources: March 20, 2013 March 2012

Counterbalancing Stress To Improve Our Health

new ps vs sym

Stressful conditions occur in our everyday lives, either through work, a new environment, relationships or more. The way our body responds to this is through the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is activated when our body senses a perceived threat (eg. Fire alarm) that causes our body to remain in a high alert mode. We start sweating, our pupils dilate, our heartbeat increases. This response is no doubt a survival instinct that keeps us safe from danger, however, being unable to activate the parasympathetic system also endangers the body and mind.

The parasympathetic system allows the body to relax when the perceived threat is finally absent. In certain cases when one is unable to activate the relaxation response, the stressors will continue to accumulate and create more serious reactions that will heavily influence the health of the individual, such as insomnia, muscle tension, high blood pressure, and more.  To help resolve these conditions, there are exercises that one can practice in order to stimulate the relaxation response, including: Breath Work, Meditation, Progressive Relaxation and Visualization/ Guided Imagery.  It is almost impossible for us to fully avoid stress, but we can always learn how to deal with it.

For more helpful information on counterbalancing stress exercises, click here:

Dr. “Slomo” New Approach to Life- AMAZING PERSPECTIVE

An inspirational documentary on Dr. John Kitchin, who “quit a medical career to pursue his passion: skating along the boardwalk of San Diego’s Pacific Beach.”

Click below to view this inspiring video!


Self-Compassion is NOT a luxury item

Improved Self-Compassion is linked to reduced anxiety and depression. Click here to watch a quick video on building positive habits through Self-Compassion reflection!

self compassion reflection

Anxiety and Health

No one likes to experience bouts of stress or anxiety — and when it becomes a chronic occurrence, its impact can go from a little annoyance to a health hazard. Whether you’re experiencing an isolated, high-stress situation or you’re one of the 40 million Americans who suffer from anxiety disorder, your physical reaction to the emotion can affect you in more ways than you may have realized. Read on to discover how anxiety changes your body, whether it’s your immediate reaction to stress or a long-term battle.”

Source: How Anxiety Influences Your Health from Huffington Post