Clinical First Responder™

The Clinical First Responder™ is based on the medical First Responder model: A medical first responder is not a doctor but may be working in a setting where medical needs and emergencies must be treated. Likewise, a Clinical First Responder™ is not a psychologist but is operating in an environment where psychological issues and crises demand a response. The Clinical First Responder™ will train non-clinicians to competently assist in the care and treatment of clients with psychological, emotional, and behavioral issues. The goal of the course is to prepare professionals to respond decisively and appropriately to the needs of clients in their care before expert assistance becomes available.

Mental health crises are inherent to wilderness treatment due to the nature of the clients served and the novelty of the environment. Such critical incidents are often the most stressful and challenging aspect of a wilderness treatment staff's job. The Clinical First Responder™ will increase field staff's understanding of the psychological issues and give them the tools to respond effectively to crises. This in turn can prevent a situation from worsening and can reduce stress and burnout. The Clinical First Responder™ is designed to increase staff's confidence in dealing with psychological, emotional, and behavioral issues and to provide the skills necessary to manage mental health issues within the scope of their roles.

The daily care of clients in a wilderness treatment program requires staff to be integrally involved in the delivery of mental health services. This necessitates that staff be able to recognize a wide variety of psychological issues, communicate intelligently with therapists, identify an emergency situation, and implement therapeutic techniques on behalf of the clinical staff. Clear decision-making, good judgement, and effective communication are critical to handling psychological emergencies in the wilderness. During the CFR, these skills will be taught and practiced through presentations, scenarios, and ongoing feedback from trainers and participants.


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"I left the Clinical First Responder™ Training a better instructor. I had new ideas for groups to run, for games and initiatives, I had a better understanding of some of the therapeutic counseling models we use in the field and so much more.  I definitely believe that any wilderness field instructor, regardless of how experienced they are, who attends the CFR will walk away with a lot of new "tools" in their toolbox."

Jennie Pool Sorensen,
Mentor Field Instructor
Second Nature Entrada



"Thanks for the work you did with my staff. He talked with me about how much he learned and how excited he was to be in this field. He has been operating with considerably more confidence in stressful situations and has really shown improvement in his decision making, greatly increasing his value here.
I can't wait to see where he goes after completing the next module. "

Bob Granger, Adventure Director, Decision Point

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