The needs of traumatized children are bringing together six agencies to train 10 therapists in the latest proven mode of treatment.
"It’s essential that we equip mental health professionals with the appropriate tools to work with victims of sexual abuse," said Erika Brosig, supervisor of direct services at Victim Services Inc.
"Helping people who have experienced trauma is unlike working with any other population," she added.
Victim Services, 638 Ferndale Ave., has received a $48,814 grant through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency for training and certification of 10 mental health therapists in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy.
"The exciting thing is the collaboration," Victim Services Executive Director Mike Oliver said. "All these individual agencies share a common vision and a common goal. They are coming together to be trained for providing a needed service for the community."
In addition to Victim Services, therapists will be trained from Pediatric Care Specialists, Dr. Mary Berge and Associates, Alternative Community Resource Program, Choices Clinical Counseling, Nulton Diagnostic and Treatment Center and Bedford-Somerset Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities.
Training will be provided by Dr. Ricky Greenwald of the Trauma Institute & Child Trauma Institute of Northampton, Massachusetts. Greenwald is a recognized leader in the therapy and has received an award for his research through the Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing International Association.
Children receiving the therapy recount the traumatic events, such as sexual abuse, while following movement and sound with their eyes, Brosig said.
"This helps their brain put the memories in the right place and process them," Brosig said.
Research has proven the value, she added.
"It does work," she said. "It is the top treatment for trauma right now. It is the most effective."
By working together, the six agencies can provide an important service to more victims, Oliver said.
"I think collaboration is the key to moving forward," he said. "This gives victims more options in the healing process.
"It is going to benefit the entire area."
The funds are part of Pennsylvania State University's $48 million penalty imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Conference in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Meeting the requirements for a the funding shows Victim Services has a proven ability to provide the best professional services, State Rep. Bryan Barbin said.
Therapists to be trained are Erika Brosig of Victim Services, Tracy Tredennick of Pediatric Care Specialists, Kelley Marron and Dale Thomas of Dr. Mary Berge & Associates, Thomas Bender of Bedford-Somerset Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Jessica M. Hayes of Nulton Diagnostic, Adam Kleinman of Choices and Shanna Handzus, Sarah Barrett and Jill Surloff of Alternative Community Resource Program.
Randy Griffith covers health care for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @photogriffer57.