Clinical First Responder™

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Cfr Group Traianing Asheville Course 2

This hands-on training is a certified course designed specifically for wilderness and residential treatment staff to provide the tools that they need to enhance their performance on the job. 


This two module course will train staff to recognize a wide variety of psychological issues, to communicate in clinical language with clinicians, and to de-escalate emotional crises to prevent critical incidents. In addition to increasing their skill level, staff will feel supported, empowered, and prepared—ingredients which will improve their effectiveness with their clients. 

The Clinical First Responder™ training will help staff become better equipped to handle day to day treatment issues and to respond appropriately to the inevitable crises that occur on the job. The end result is a more competent and confident staff and a more effective and professional program. Moreover, a higher standard of training will lead to increased professionalism and will enhance the reputation of the wilderness and residential treatment industry as credible mental health providers.

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. 

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.