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Skills for Psychological Recovery for Children & Youth in Schools (SPR-S)


  1. JULY 20, 2020

  2. JULY 22, 2020

  3. JULY 24, 2020


  1. 6:00-7:30pm EST


  1. -Counselors

  2. -Psychologists

  3. -Senior Leaders

  4. -Child Safety Teams

  5. -School Medical Staff

  6. -Wellness Staff


The Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) is an evidence-informed intervention that is intended to foster long-term adaptive coping in disaster survivors who are exhibiting moderate levels of distress, by offering simplified, brief application of skills that are commonly related to improved recovery in post-disaster/emergency settings. Skills for Psychological Recovery is intended to follow the acute implementation of Psychological First Aid, by supporting long-term resiliency in children, adolescents and adults. Training in SPR has been extremely well-received by counselors working in many crisis counseling programs following hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquake, tsunami, floods, mass shootings, and man-made disasters. Designed to be provided by non-mental health personnel, SPR has become widely utilized in the United States and Australia to help individuals and communities rebuild their sense of resiliency in the months and years following a disaster. Skills for Psychological Recovery was designed by The National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the National Center for PTSD to provide an evidence- informed approach for reinforcing long-term resiliency in children, adolescents, and adults post-disaster.

The Skills for Psychological Recovery for Children and Youth in Schools (SPR-S) adaptation takes advantage of small student groups to promote a psycho-educational curriculum designed to reinforce resiliency in schools, families and the larger community. Designed currently for students over the age of 10, groups meet weekly for one hour for 10-12 weeks. Groups discuss and practice positive coping strategies for life’s stressors which include: Building Problem-Solving Skills, Promoting Positive Activities, Managing Reactions, Promoting Helpful Thinking and Rebuilding Healthy Social Connections. Supported by the group process, SPR-S has adapted games and fun activities to reinforce psycho-educational concepts introduced to group members. Group members who have successfully completed SPR for Schools have seen a decrease in depression and anxiety levels and an increase in the implementation of positive coping methods in order to better handle these stressors. Additionally, graduates of SPR-S for Schools have reported that they feel more confident in their abilities to handle future adversities.


Participants will:

  1. be provided with the standard SPR manual and SPR-S adaptation materials

  2. be able to teach the rationale and psycho-educational curriculum of Skills for Psychological Recovery for Children and Youth in Schools (SPR-S)

  3. leave the training with the materials, training and confidence to initiate SPR-S in their schools to support intermediate and long term resiliency in their schools and larger school communities

  4. receive a Skills for Psychological Recovery for Children and Youth in Schools (SPR-S) educational certificate

Dr. Douglas Walker, Chief Programs Director, Mercy Family Center

Dr. Walker has worked with the international school community for fourteen of his last twenty-three years of practice as a clinical psychologist. He received his doctorate from the University of North Texas where he participated in the emerging field of Psychoneuroimmunology, studying the impact of stress upon the human immune system. In response to Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Walker created Project Fleur-de-lis, New Orleans’s largest school-based mental health program devote to students struggling emotionally and academically in the years following the storm and destruction. Dr. Walker has served as technical advisor to the US State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools and Guyana’s Ministry of Health to assist in the dissemination of trauma focused, evidence – based practices.

Over the past decade, he has held a close relationship with the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA), functioning as a technical advisor and trainer for the implementation of trauma-informed treatment, crisis response and programming. With the support of AISA, Dr. Walker worked alongside other child protection experts to create the Child Protection Handbook, now in its second edition. In 2016, Dr. Walker completed a Fulbright Specialist Scholarship in Fukushima City, Japan where he conducted lectures in disaster mental health, and collaborative research into peer-to-peer support post 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami and level 7 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. He functions as an Affiliated Consultant for the Council of International Schools (CIS), is a member of the International Task Force on Child Protection and contributes to the efforts of The Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) as a member of their Rapid Response Team.


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