Commencing March 1st, 2023

 By Claire Hudson-McAuley


Post COVID and the increasing shortage of trained staff, there is an urgent need to invest more heavily in existing qualified staff, to respect, value, and look after them as never before.

The Growing Heart is launching a new certificate program, Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy Practice (TIPP+). Offering an introduction to trauma-informed relational psychotherapy, the course has the secondary aim of benefiting morale, recruitment and retention of staff. The unique aspect of this course is the + aspect, where skills are practiced weekly in reflecting teams to create enriched connections among health professionals- fostering a Community of Care, Learning and Practice.

The introductory TIPP+ program offers immediately useful, skills knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours to support recovery-oriented practice, with approaches which are humanising, practical and useful no matter which part of the health or well-being sector they are in. Use of Self as therapist is highlighted.

Participants will experience the safety and value of belonging and being of service to each other in the learning and growth space. Reflecting teams can become ongoing high quality Balint peer supervision groups after the training ends so that skills and peer support continue to develop and deepen after the course finishes. Additional levels of training are available after course completion if participants wish to progress skills and capacities.

The focus is on skills that have practical application and can be used in a wide variety of settings, including general hospital wards, Alcohol and Other Drug settings, midwifery, Emergency Departments, well-being centres, consulting rooms, first responder, and diverse mental health settings.

Led by experienced psychotherapists, the course is open to all health-related clinicians, offering a practical contemporary approach to trauma-informed care. Designed to engage clinicians to claim or reclaim a more therapeutic role, to broaden and update their understanding of psychotherapy, and to enliven their roles, not just as therapists, but as carers, leaders, and strategic thinkers.

Expected Employment Enhancements 

Graduates of the course are expected to be supported by employers to practice within their training and skill level, thus increasing job satisfaction and confidence in handling complexity, and gaining improved standing in their current job, or be able to extend employment roles /options. Additional modules can be offered in settings where trauma-informed group therapies or family therapy are needed.

Who will benefit from this course? 

The course will benefit health professionals seeking practical introductory psychotherapy skills and self- knowledge to work with a wide range of clients – adults, children, and families- experiencing sequelae of trauma. Sequelae may include acute and enduring distress, “treatment resistant” conditions, anxiety or depression, pre or post-natal anxiety or depression, emotional dysregulation or numbing, high levels of shame, collapse or social isolation, addictions, attachment or relational difficulties, anger issues, eating issues, high risk behaviours, behavioural issues, bullying, dissociation, self-harm, suicidality, psychosis, chronic pain, or somatic conditions with no apparent medical cause. The course encourages evidence-based practice.

Admissions Criteria 

  • Registered nurse, psychologist, counsellor, registrar, psychiatrist, AOD counsellor, midwife, mental health nurse, nurse practitioner, social worker, occupational therapist, OT, EN or other health professional with at least twelve months post registration experience.
  • Clinical role working with individuals to practice skills
  • Member of a professional body such as AHPRA, AASW, or ACA, or an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Health
  • Must be fluent in written and spoken English and have access to a desktop or laptop computer and reliable

Other Course Requirements 

  • Willingness to work constructively and collaboratively with other students in supervised reflective teams
  • Ability to attend the course for four hours per week for ten weeks and complete eight hours per week of self- learning online before each session.
  • Able to attend intake interview online

Students will complete a self-assessment of their learning objectives and outcomes at the start and finish of the course, in conjunction with the course co-ordinator. Evaluation includes observation of practice and submitted work and will also assess participation in reflecting teams and the larger group. A “developing” or “competent” rating is required.

Confidentiality and de-identification of clients is a requirement of the course. Similarly, all client and student information discussed in large or small groups remains protected and confidential for the purpose of learning and skills development. Peer and facilitator support and feedback will be offered during the course, and students will be encouraged to form practice groups outside the weekly sessions to consolidate skills.

We expect the course content or self-reflection process may be unsettling for some students at times. Students should contact the Course Co-ordinator if this occurs, and will be referred to external support services if needed.Level 1 Certificate Intended Learning Outcomes 

  1. Demonstrate introductory trauma-informed psychotherapy skills, knowledge, and
  2. Highlight relational competency including impact of attachment styles on relational
  3. Integrate into practice, core components of the Self as therapist, including ongoing learning through
  4. Evaluate a range of socio-cultural and political frameworks relevant to mental health
  5. Demonstrate formulation of client conditions using a recovery-oriented, hopeful, non-stigmatising
  6. Critique current system functionality as outlined in the RCMH Victoria Final
  7. Embed advocacy for cultural and intersectional competencies and awareness into the work.Structure and Duration 

Hours per subject include four hours of live experiential learning and eight hours of self-directed learning per week- a total of 120 hours.

Week Date* Hours per subject
1.Foundational      Theories      and      Practice     in      Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy 1/3/23 12
2.Reflective Practice 1: Self as Therapist 8/3/23 12
3. Socio-political and cultural context of Mental Health/ Illness 15/3/23 12
4. Introduction to the Polyvagal Theory 22/3/23 12
5. Introduction to Internal Family Systems 29/3/23 12
6. Introduction to Brief/solution focused therapy 5/4/23 12
7. Practicum week 12/4/23 12
8. Reflective practice 2: Self as therapist 19/4/23 12
9. Introduction to single session Family Therapy 26/4/23 12
Two week break to prepare presentations    
10. Course presentations  & course review 10/5/23 12

The four-hour live learnings will include lectures, case studies, and role plays in reflecting teams to discuss and practice specific skills. Students will not be able to graduate without completing all course requirements. Absence due to illness or leave will need a doctor’s certificate and discussion with the course Co-ordinator to reschedule the missed week(s).

*Note: Dates above may be subject to change.Qualification to be awarded on Completion of Coursework 

Level 1 Certificate in Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy PracticeClinical Practice and Support 

Students must have a clinical role that enables them to practice the new skills and apply theoretical learnings. Students will also be encouraged to form skills practice groups to consolidate skills, outside of training days.

The practicum week and final case presentation will allow students to reflect on application of new skills and new approaches to their work.Mode of Delivery 

This course is fully online and will include readings, videos, audio, live experiential group practice, reflecting team and course co-ordinator feedback, lectures, self-assessment quizzes, journaling and case scenarios demonstrating application of skills, knowledge and behaviours.

Fees for Level 1 Training starting March 1st 2023 

  • Organisation fees: $40,000 plus GST for a group of thirty clinicians, or $1500 plus GST per staff Employers must sign a group or individual consent form to agree to staff availability for four hours each week during the ten weeks of the program on either a Wednesday morning 0800-1200 or Thursday evening 1700-2100.
  • Individual fees $1295 plus GST for individual nurses, social workers, ENs and AOD workers who are self- funding (fees are tax deductible)
  • Psychologists $1975 plus Psychiatry registrars $2975 plus GST.
  • Psychiatrists $3975 plus
  • Organisations may purchase additional modules for staff, eg Introduction to Group Therapy
  • Individuals can advance skills further with levels 2 and 3 trainings.