Trauma-Informed Compassionate Classrooms: Strategies to Reduce Challenging Behavior, Improve Learning Outcomes and Increase Student Engagement

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Christina Reese, PhD, LCPC
6 Hours 21 Minutes
Apr 28, 2020
Product Code:
Media Type:
DVD - Also available: Digital Recordings


As an educator, you are faced with the challenge of meeting the social and emotional needs of all your students. This can be challenging enough with typical learners but it is even more difficult with those who have experienced trauma or have mental health challenges. Students who have experienced trauma often present as difficult to engage and display problematic behaviour such as a low frustration tolerance, angry outbursts, or difficult social relationships. These behaviours all get in the way of teaching and learning. When a student has experienced trauma, he/she often spends much of the day in fight/flight/freeze mode which limits their capacity to learn. Their outwardly aggressive and irritable behaviours also disrupt the flow in the classroom, requiring your time and attention. Despite the amount of time you invest in behaviour charts or incentives for good behaviour, traditional behavioural approaches to classroom management and a punitive approach to discipline simply are not effective.

Join Dr. Reese in the recording and learn how a trauma-informed approach will greatly reduce challenging behaviour, improve student engagement and increase learning outcomes. Finish this program with new strategies, tools, and resources to reduce students’ impulsiveness, aggressive behaviours, and inattention and increase their focus, attention, and compassion. While this positive approach is absolutely essential for students with trauma, it will also greatly benefit each and every student in your classroom. Return to your school with:

  • Research-based practices to establish a trauma-informed classroom
  • A plan to develop positive relationships and build trust with your hard-to-reach students
  • Prove techniques for communicating more effectively and collaboratively with challenging students
  • Cognitive skill-building strategies which incorporate the science of neuroplasticity and the strengths-based perspective of neurodiversity



This online program is worth 6.5 hours CPD.



Christina Reese, PhD, LCPC's Profile

Christina Reese, PhD, LCPC Related seminars and products

Christina Reese, PhD, LCPC, has been working with children impacted by trauma for over 15 years, and has recently completed training as a TBRI Practitioner. She helps children and their families impacted by a variety of traumas, providing both in home and in school therapy to these children. Over this time, Dr. Reese has partnered with schools in Baltimore County and Baltimore City to help teachers find interventions that get results in the classroom. A passionate advocate for children and their families, she has worked with children in court ordered drug treatment at the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, as week as in residential treatment centers and in the community.

Dr. Reese, a recognized attachment and trauma professional, has created a comprehensive guide that explains attachment over a lifetime. her book, Attachment: 60 Trauma-Informed Assessment and Treatment Interventions Across the Lifespan (PESI, 2018), offers trauma-informed strategies to facilitate connection, rebuild trust and restore positive emotions.

Dr. Reese is a licensed clinical professional counselor in Maryland and Pennsylvania as well as a licensed clinical supervisor. She received her Master's Degree in community counseling from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD and her PhD in counselor education from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Past work experiences include being director of a mental health clinic and the case manager of the Howard County Cold Weather Shelter, working with homeless individuals and families. additionally, Dr. Reese is very passionate about her work focusing on attachment and has extensive experience with adoptive families and children in foster care.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Christina Reese has an employment relationship with Mosaic Community Services.  She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Christina Reese has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.


Upon completion of this seminar, participants will be able to:

  1. Analyze the ways in which poverty and mental health contribute to trauma responses thus informing your approach to working with all students.
  2. Determine how trauma impacts a child’s development and develop strategies for meeting his or her needs.
  3. Explore how exposure to adverse childhood experiences determines the likelihood of developmental trauma and its impact on level of functioning across the lifespan.
  4. Establish a collaborative approach to discipline and demonstrate how this fosters intrinsic motivation for behaviour change in the child.
  5. Practice techniques to establish positive relationships and build trust with hard-to-reach students thus increasing their social and academic success.
  6. Explore mindfulness activities that foster student self-awareness, self-regulation, and the ability to focus as it relates to impulsive behaviours and attention.


Trauma in Students: What to Look For

  • Fight, flight, or freeze responses: How it manifests in school
  • Wired for fear: Impact on the whole child
  • ACES – Adverse Childhood Experiences study and survey
  • The role of poverty and mental health challenges

Trauma Therapy

  • Benefits
  • Limitations of the Research
  • Potential Risks

Discipline in a Trauma-Informed Classroom

  • Changing your mindset: Punitive vs. collaborative
  • Strategies to foster intrinsic motivation
  • 3 steps to implement a collaborative approach
  • Case study: How you respond

Neuroplasticity: Activities to Establish & Strengthen Neural Pathways

  • Strategies to develop new ways of responding
    • Slow down, stop, and think
    • Respond rather than react
    • Social stories
  • Techniques to incorporate the 4 R’s:
    • Rhythmic
    • Repetitive
    • Relational
    • Rewarding

Relationships as a Protective Factor

  • Techniques to form positive relationships and increase students’ likeliness to:
    • Stay in school longer
    • Work harder
    • Increase test scores & grades
    • Increase their self-confidence
  • Techniques to help students feel connected to school making them less likely to:
    • Smoke or drink
    • Have sexual intercourse
    • Develop emotional problems
    • Experience suicidal thoughts or attempts
    • Carry weapons
    • Be involved in violence or dangerous activities
  • Case study: Strengths-based, solution-focused approach

Mindfulness and Self-Awareness Activities to:

  • Help with transitions
  • Reduce impulsive behaviours
  • Strengthen empathy, kindness, and compassion
  • Calm and focus attention

Social and Emotional Learning Techniques to Increase:

  • Focus and concentration
  • Impulse control
  • Conflict resolution skills

Mindful Communication Tools to Improve Student Engagement

  • Lead with presence
  • Attention
  • Intention

Mindful Strategies to Increase Connection, Empathy, & Community

  • Gratitude
  • Heartfulness

Zones of Regulation to Teach Self-Awareness & Emotional Control

  • Red zone
  • Yellow zone
  • Green zone
  • Blue zone

Target Audience

  • General Educators
  • Special Educators
  • School Administrators
  • School Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Guidance Counselors
  • School Nurses
  • Directors of Special Education
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Paraprofessionals



Overall:      4.7

Total Reviews: 13


Sandi C



"Love this course. As a first year special education teacher I learned a lot! "


"Enjoyed this seminar very much! Thank you!!"

Emily S

"This was an excellent Webinar! I learned a great deal."

Sherry B

"excellent information, presenter was awesome!"


"Very Good and helpful presentation. Presenter kept it very interesting"

Jaclyn D

"It was excellent!"

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