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Online Training

Building Resilient Systems: Tools for Direct Care Staff

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In this module we will examine the role which direct care staff play in creating a culture of safety in the residential program setting. Particular attention will be given to understandings of boundaries and ethics, the implementation of trauma-informed care, and importance of skills to empower program residents.


At the end of this module participant will be able to:

  1. Discuss possible causes of crisis-driven behavior within the residential setting and its impact on staff and resident behavior
  2. Discuss boundaries and ethics for direct care staff in the residential setting and tools to assess staff behavior and decision making
  3. Describe internal working models and their impact on staff and resident behavior
  4. Describe nurturing vs punitive responses and the application of skills to empower residents


  1. Introduction
  2. Review of Core Training Concepts: Parallel Process, and Definitions of Safety
  3. The impact of crisis in the residential setting for staff and clients
  4. Skills for self-care to support direct care staff
  5. Introduction of boundaries and ethical decision- making in direct care
  6. Differentiation of boundary crossings vs boundary violations and skills to self-check behavior
  7. Introduction to working with residents in a therapeutic, nurturing and empowering way
  8. Understanding and impact of Internal Working Models for staff and residents
  9. Resources for checking behavior in the workplace including supervision
  10. Introduction to empowering the client, including nurturing vs punitive responses
  11. Conclusion
  12. Summary

A certificate of completion is offered for this online learning module.

If you have any questions or difficulty accessing the training, contact David Stanley at

These training modules have been developed by the Institute for Health & Recovery with funding provided by Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services.

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