Training Institute

Art of Awareness hosts a variety of both on-location and off-site continuing education and training opportunities for medical, mental health, and body-centered practitioners, as well as the general public.

Contact us at 207-805-0183 for more information about our offerings, including our yoga teacher training programs.


Upcoming Training Opportunities

Domestic Violence Training for Health Professionals

*Please note: Sessions 1 & 2 of this training are full, wait list is not available*

Dates: *Please be sure to sign up for both sessions for the full 12 contact-hour requirement (if applicable).

Session 1 (Modules 1 & 2) Friday, January 24th, 8:30 am-4:00 pm
Session 2 (Modules 3 & 4) Friday, January 31st, 8:30 am-4:00 pm

Cost: $80.00 Per Session ($160.00 for full 12 contact-hour requirement)

To Register:
(preferred method): Click the link HERE, then click “full calendar” and select the specific date(s) of the training you would like to register for. Please note that if you wish to complete the full 12-hour curriculum you will need to register and pay for both sessions separately (Session 1: January 24th, 2020/Session 2: January 31st, 2020).
Call (207)-805-0183 during normal business hours (please have credit card available).

Starting in 2020, all mental health providers will be required to demonstrate a one-time successful completion of the equivalent of 12 hours of continuing education or course work in family and intimate partner violence. Join us, the Art of Awareness Training Institute at Bridge Studio, on January 24th, 2020 for Session 1 (Modules 1 & 2) & January 31st, 2020 for Session 2 (Modules 3 & 4) of our 12-hour Mental Health Curriculum, presented by Through These Doors. Each session will provide 6 contact hours and may be taken independently, or both may be completed to meet the full 12 contact-hour requirement. Both sessions completed together will cover all required content areas.

Heather Biggar, LCSW- Heather Biggar is the Director of Community Education and Prevention at Through These Doors, the domestic violence resource center serving Cumberland County, Maine. As a licensed clinical social worker, she has clinical experience working with adult survivors and their children exposed to trauma including domestic violence. Ms. Biggar has over 15 years of experience in the field of trauma and provides extensive training and outreach to communities on a wide range of topics related to domestic violence, traumatic stress, and professional resilience. Prior to her current position, Ms. Biggar worked in the Department of Clinical Innovation at Maine Behavioral Healthcare providing evidence based clinical treatment for children and their caregivers. Additionally, she has provided domestic violence advocacy and has worked as a Domestic Violence Court Victim Witness Assistant here in Maine, supporting survivors and families navigating the legal and social service systems.

Jenny Stasio, LCSW- Jenny Stasio is the Director of Operations for Through These Doors, the domestic violence resource center serving Cumberland County, Maine. Since 2007, she has worked in the domestic violence field in various capacities including direct service, program development and management. Currently, Jenny oversees the residential services programming including a sixteen bed emergency shelter for victims and survivors of domestic violence and a transitional housing program as well as coordinates grant and foundation requests and human resources for the organization. Additionally, Jenny is licensed in the state of Maine as a clinical social worker.


Session 1 (Modules 1 & 2) Friday, January 24th, 2020

Module 1: Domestic Abuse: Foundations (3 hours)

Objectives: Participants will be able to define domestic abuse and trauma, examine the multitude of barriers to safety that batterers create for their partners and family members, and identify the tactics that batterers employ to obtain and maintain power and control over their partners and family members.

Definition of terms (domestic abuse & trauma, both individual and collective/historical)
Information about diversity of survivors and perpetrators including gender dynamics of abuse.
Maine and national statistics.
Exercise: 20-card Skit including abuser lines.
Risk Analysis and Safety Planning Brainstorm.
Introduction to MCEDV, Summary of DVRC Services, availability of others resources (Wabanaki Women’s Coalition, Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, MECASA).
Introduction to the concept of the Coordinated Community Response.
Definition and illustration of Coercive Control.
Discussion of abuse in LGBQTA+ Communities.
Discussion of other types of violence used in intimate relationships, and how these differences might manifest in a conversation with a survivor.
Assailant Interviews Video about batterer tactics and Common Justifications for Abuser Behavior handout.
Coha and Ridley Study results including why couples counseling in the context of DV is so dangerous.

Module 2: Domestic Abuse: Addressing the Lasting Impact (3 hours)

Objectives: Participants will be able to discuss the impact of trauma on the brain, identify several short and long-term health impacts of domestic violence, and describe particular challenges facing survivors of Multi-Abuse Trauma.

Activity exploring victim blame & accountable language.
Definition of trauma-informed practice, sanctuary harm, and how trauma-informed approaches can help survivors of domestic violence.
Video about the impact of trauma to the brain.
Exploration of short and long-term health impacts from abuse. Includes issues around reproductive health (reproductive & sexual coercion, risk during pregnancy, etc.) and strangulation.
Considerations for survivors of mental health and substance use disorders, including: definition of Multi-Abuse Trauma, ways in which experiencing a mental health or substance use condition puts someone at greater risk for being abused, and also how a mental health or substance use condition can be the result of experiencing abuse, “She’s Got All Kinds of Troubles” Skit to illustrate multi-abuse trauma and opportunities for a coordinated community response, and information about the difference between codependent and abuse-affected behaviors.
Illustration of how batterer behavior impacts children, and how batterers continue their abuse through court and child custody processes.
Explanation of the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, and what it means in the context of our work.

Session 2 (Modules 3 & 4) Friday, January 31st, 2020

Module 3: Domestic Abuse: Intervention Strategies (3 hours)

Objectives: Participants will be able to distinguish between appropriate roles for mental health providers and those for domestic violence advocates, identify screening strategies they can use in their practice, describe basic safety planning strategies, including how to refer to a domestic violence resource center, define the difference between risk analysis and evidence-based risk assessment, and analyze better tactics of control as they relate to seeking professional help.

Considerations for working with batterers including an evaluation of the effectiveness of Batterer Intervention Programs, Anger Management Programs, individual counseling for batterers, and couples counseling.
Exploration of the Duty to Warn and how it applies when working with batterers.
Case example analyzing how systems and workers might collude with batterers, examples of how to hold batterer clients accountable instead of colliding.
Discussion of the role of the mental health professional in contrast to the role of the advocate.
Screening- what when, how (both written and verbal, at every intake, when relationship changes, etc.)
Explanation of ways to connect survivors with domestic violence advocacy services.
What counselors need to know about safety planning.
How to document domestic abuse in a trauma-informed way using accountable language.
Fishbowl demonstration of what happens when a provider calls the helpline.
Introduction to evidence-based risk assessment tools in use in Maine, including an overview of their purpose and audience, and the difference between risk analysis and risk assessment.

Module 4: Domestic Abuse: Trauma-Informed and Culturally Competent Responses (3 hours)

Objectives: Identify ways in which trauma impacts survivors of domestic violence, discuss trauma-informed strategies for working with domestic violence survivors, describe various aspects of culturally competent services and list culturally-specific domestic violence resources in Maine.

A closer look at how those in the mental health field might unintentionally cause sanctuary harm in their work with LGBQTA+ folks.
Trauma is not “post” for DV survivors- what does an intervention look like in the context of ongoing danger? How can we employ and ecological analysis of trauma in our work with survivors? What impact does collective/historical trauma have on DV survivors?
Activities/techniques that can help ground survivors and manage the trauma.
Exploration of ways in which trauma impacts survivors’ ability to reach out for help.
Exploration of ways that survivors cope with the abuse, including attempts to stop it, to manage the impact, and to escape it.
Case example activity with a focus on trauma-informed practice.
Special considerations for responding to the abuse of elders, differently-abled individuals, teens, and children, including information on trauma-informed, survivor-centered approaches to mandated reporting.
Exploration of ways in which professionals’ own trauma histories may impact their own work, and suggestions for how to manage this inevitable experience.
Discussion on the importance of an anti-oppression framework for our work with survivors at both the system and individual levels.
Information about culturally-specific resources in Maine and using interpreter.
Role that faith/spirituality can play for survivors, including faith-based domestic violence resources.
Overview of trauma-focused interventions in use with domestic violence survivors.

About This Training:
Curriculum content was developed by the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) to meet the requirment for training Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors, as described in L.D. 1238 (126th Legis. 2013). The complete curriculum includes 4 3-hour modules.

To Register:
(preferred method): Click the link HERE, then click “full calendar” and select the specific date(s) of the training you would like to register for. Please note that if you wish to complete the full 12-hour curriculum you will need to register and pay for both sessions separately (Session 1: January 24th, 2020/Session 2: January 31st, 2020).
Call (207)-805-0183 during normal business hours (please have credit card available).

EMDR Level I & Level II Trainings

The EMDR Institute hold their Maine Trainings at Bridge Studio at Art of Awareness  For more information about this training opportunity, contact the local training sponsor, Celia Grand, at 207-799-9776. You can also visit the EMDR Institute’s website for additional details or to register online.

To Register:
ONLINE: Visit the EMDR Institute’s website, for more information and/or to register and pay online.
PHONE: Contact local training sponsor Celia Grand at 207-799-9776 with questions.