Skills for Psychological Recovery: Field Operations Guide - PTSD: National Center for PTSD
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Skills for Psychological Recovery: Field Operations Guide

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Skills for Psychological Recovery: Field Operations Guide

When bad things happen. Skills for Psychological Recovery: Field Operations Guide

For Disaster Behavioral Health Responders

Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR), is an intervention designed to follow Psychological First Aid (PFA) in the weeks and months following disasters and mass violence events. SPR aims to help survivors gain skills to manage distress and cope with post-disaster stress and adversity. The SPR Field Operations Guide was developed jointly by the National Center for PTSD and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, with contributions from individuals involved in disaster research and response.

SPR is not formal mental health treatment, but utilizes skills-building components from mental health treatment that have been found helpful in a variety of post-trauma situations, including problem-solving, positive activities scheduling, managing reactions, helpful thinking, and building healthy social connections. Research suggests that a skills-building approach is more effective than supportive counseling. SPR is appropriate for developmental levels across the lifespan, and is culturally informed. SPR aims to facilitate recovery, support functioning, and prevent behaviors that make things more difficult.

Skills for Psychological Recovery Manual contents

Chapter/ Topic Title of Chapters and Topics
Complete Guide Skills for Psychological Recovery Manual with Appendices (PDF 2MB)
Chapter 1 Introduction and Overview
Chapter 2 Delivery Considerations
Chapter 3 Core Skills
- Topic 1 Gathering Information and Prioritizing Assistance
- Topic 2 Building Problem-Solving Skills
- Topic 3 Promoting Positive Activities
- Topic 4 Managing Reactions
- Topic 5 Promoting Helpful Thinking
- Topic 6 Rebuilding Healthy Social Connections
Chapter 4 Multiple Contacts
Appendices for Skills for Psychological Recovery Manual
Note: The appendices PDFs are formatted to be printable handouts.
Appendix A Gathering Information and Prioritizing Assistance
SPR Screening Form (PDF)
SPR Skill Flowchart | en Español (PDF)
What is "Skills for Psychological Recovery?" | en Español (PDF)
SPR Overview and Review of Skills | en Español (PDF)
Appendix B Building Problem-Solving Skills
Problem-Solving Worksheet | en Español (PDF)
For Children: Problem Busters Worksheet | en Español (PDF)
Appendix C Promoting Positive Activities
Choosing Positive Activities | en Español (PDF)
Positive Activity Worksheet | en Español (PDF)
For Children: Choosing Things to Do | en Español (PDF)
For Children: Positive Activity Worksheet | en Español (PDF)
For Parents: Helping Your Child Plan Activities | en Español (PDF)
Appendix D Managing Reactions
- For Adults & Adolescents Managing Reactions Worksheet | en Español (PDF)
Breathing Exercise | en Español (PDF)
Posttraumatic Stress Reactions | en Español (PDF)
Anger and Irritability | en Español (PDF)
Sleep Difficulties | en Español (PDF)
Reactions to Chronic Stress | en Español (PDF)
Depressed Mood | en Español (PDF)
Post-Disaster Fears | en Español (PDF)
Grief Reactions | en Español (PDF)
Supporting Someone After a Disaster | en Español (PDF)
Drug and Alcohol Problems | en Español (PDF)
- For Children For Children: Getting Control of Your Fears | en Español (PDF)
- For Parents Helping Children Control Their Fears | en Español (PDF)
Help for Children's Sleep Problems | en Español (PDF)
Children's Intrusive (Unwanted) Thoughts and Traumatic Reminders | en Español (PDF)
Children's Anxiety (Avoiding, Clinging, Fears) | en Español (PDF)
Children's Tantrums and Acting Out Behavior | en Español (PDF)
Children and Grief: Information for Families | en Español (PDF)
Appendix E Promoting Helpful Thinking
Helpful Thinking Handout | en Español (PDF)
For Children: Helpful Thinking Handout | en Español (PDF)
Helpful Thinking Worksheet | en Español (PDF)
For Children: Helpful Thinking / Good Coach, Bad Coach Worksheet | en Español (PDF)
Payoff Matrix Worksheet | en Español (PDF)
Appendix F Building Healthy Social Connections
Social Connections List | en Español (PDF)
Social Map Worksheet | en Español (PDF)
For Children: Social Map Worksheet | en Español (PDF)
Types of Social Support Worksheet | en Español (PDF)
Getting Social Support in Six Steps | en Español (PDF)
Giving Social Support in Six Steps | en Español (PDF)
Appendix G Multiple Contacts
Preventing Setbacks Worksheet | en Español (PDF)

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SPR Training

Online course

The Skills for Psychological Recovery online course offers timely training for providers responding to disasters as well as for those working to bolster resilience-building skills for Veterans. Continuing education credits are available for this course. After completion, learners will be familiar with and able to apply the core components of SPR to help build resilience in both disaster or mass casualty settings and with Veterans.

Continuing Education Course

Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR)

This online course reviews the evidence-based core skills of SPR and their flexible application in response to disaster or resilience-building with transitioning Veterans.

In-person training

In-person SPR trainings give an opportunity for more time to fully demonstrate the SPR model, to answer questions, and to apply the model to role-plays and case discussions.

During in-person trainings, an effort is made to:

  • Assess and train different trainee skill levels
  • Incorporate local cultural factors
  • Highlight the difference between traditional mental health practice and SPR
  • Highlight the difference between SPR and supportive counseling and PFA
  • Discuss the importance of a strong partnership with the survivor when providing SPR
  • Promote group interactivity and practice
  • Illustrate SPR actions with examples and tips
  • Highlight the importance of self-care when working with disaster survivors

Ideally, it is best if those implementing SPR are either licensed providers or are being supervised by licensed providers.

We recommend that you obtain training either from one of the authors of SPR or from a designated trainer. You may inquire about in-person trainings by emailing:

Author and Development Information

SPR was created with the Terrorism Disaster Branch of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network as well as others involved in disaster response. Production of this material was supported by SAMHSA.

The principal authors of SPR (in alphabetical order) include: Steve Berkowitz, M.D., Richard Bryant, Ph.D., Melissa Brymer, Ph.D., Psy.D., Jessica Hamblen, Ph.D., Anne Jacobs, Ph.D., Christopher Layne, Ph.D., Robert Macy, Ph.D., Howard Osofsky, M.D., Ph.D., Robert Pynoos, M.D., MPH, Josef Ruzek, Ph.D., Alan Steinberg, Ph.D., Eric Vernberg, Ph.D., and Patricia Watson, Ph.D.

For citation: Berkowitz, S., Bryant, R., Brymer, M., Hamblen, J., Jacobs, A., Layne, C., Macy, R., Osofsky, H., Pynoos, R., Ruzek, J., Steinberg, A., Vernberg, E., Watson, P., National Center for PTSD and National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Skills for Psychological Recovery: Field Operations Guide, 2010. Available on: www.nctsn.org and www.ptsd.va.gov.

Copyright © 2010 Berkowitz, S., Bryant, R., Brymer, M., Hamblen, J., Jacobs, A., Layne, C., Macy, R., Osofsky, H., Pynoos, R., Ruzek, J., Steinberg, A., Vernberg, E., Watson, P. (National Center for PTSD and National Child Traumatic Stress Network). All rights reserved. You are welcome to copy or redistribute this material in print or electronically provided the text is not modified, the authors and the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD) and National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) are cited in any use, and no fee is charged for copies of this publication. Unauthorized commercial publication or exploitation of this material is specifically prohibited. Anyone wishing to use any of this material for commercial use must request and receive prior written permission from the NCTSN. Permission for such use is granted on a case-by-case basis at the sole discretion of NCTSN. If you would like permission to adapt or license these materials, please contact Melissa Brymer, Ph.D. at mbrymer@mednet.ucla.edu.

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