Training Articles

Change is Not A Piece of Cake: Motivational Interviewing and Stages of Change

By: Gail

When I’m talking to my kids about improving either their health or behavior, they resist. Of course, they know that avoiding a ton of calories is good for you, but they want the huge slice of cake anyway. Who can blame them? Cake tastes amazing.

While working with Dr. Jonathan Fader to develop an online Motivational Interviewing Training, I learned that this ambivalence can be resolved, and individuals can move from one stage of change to another with assistance. By following this non-judgmental, non-confrontational approach, individuals can be effective in helping others with various forms of behavior change. Dr. Fader explains Motivational Interviewing really well on his website:

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a technique that was developed by psychologists Bill Miller and Steve Rollnick. One recent definition of MI calls it a collaborative, person-centered form of guiding to elicit and strengthen motivation for change. In the MI approach, clients are assumed to be in a state of ambivalence that can best be resolved by highlighting discrepancies between perceived risk and actual experience of negative consequences. The clinician identifies the difference in where clients are and where they would like to be. Through careful listening and the reflecting of “change talk,” the clinician provides the client the opportunity to explore a path toward change.

If you are interested in learning more, check out the description of the online course. You can sign up easily, and quickly from there. If you do take the course, I hope you enjoy it as much as Jonathan and I did making it.

You Can’t Rush New Hire Learning

Successful completion of the standard formal new hire training, that is common place for line or direct care staff in the professions of child welfare and children’s mental health, is only one component of a much broader set of mindful and sequential activities.

As the mantra has shifted to doing more with less (and much faster), we also see a shift and general de-valuing of the importance attached to initial and on-going staff development and training. Skipping steps in how new staff learn their trade has a greater negative cost impact for all parties as compared to any front end dollar reduction. Some of the more prominent negative costs include extremely high staff turnover, the impact of well intended yet poorly prepared staff on teams and most importantly the impact on families our that we in the field are privileged to serve. The negative impact is felt well beyond the new hire budget line.There are many models that explain levels of learning or how people learn. In the end, what we need to understand and account for is the same.

Learning Pyramid

This is a simple version of the levels or phases of learning.

  1.  1. Awareness: General awareness of the position duties and skill sets required to be effective with clients. This phase begins with the initial pre-hire communications and during the formal interview and hiring process.
    Red Flag: New hires arriving to their training without being able to name their position and-or give a general description of what duties they have been hired to perform.
  2.  2. Knowledge and Understanding: More specific information and education as to how the worker’s role and duties supports the empowerment of clients towards their goal achievement. The new hire must know why what they do is important for those served and how it complements the work of the team. This begins during the Awareness level and expands during the new hire initial training. This Knowledge and Understanding is further developed towards deeper levels of sophistication as they move forward in their career. This applies the initial and on -going position specific skill set acquisition also.
    Red Flag: New or more seasoned staff unable to explain, outside of generalized statements, how what they do impacts a client and-or their team’s work.
  3.  3. Knows how to: Specific skill sets are introduced and taught at the early phase of development- in a safe learning environment with qualified coaching, modelling, tutoring and strength based behavior specific feedback. This level of learning often is delivered initially through initial hire training modules that include lecture, demonstration and experiential learning via structured role plays and-or other guided small group activities. In best practice, the next phase of this includes modeling, in- person coaching and timely strength based feedback “in the field”. One example would be a structured, staff mentoring system.
    Red Flag: Inconsistent or non-existent system in place that provides new hire mentoring and coaching. When there is not a defined measurable standard of assessing when a new hire has demonstrated a new skill mastery to move to a standard supervision level.
  4.  4. Can or is able to: This is when staff has demonstrated consistent mastery, under varied conditions.

Vendor Supervisor New MIS Training Registration

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Please complete the registration form below to attend one of the two Vendor Supervisor Trainings for the New MIS System. Please let us know if you need CCNY to supply you with a laptop for this training.

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Human Trafficking Lunch & Learn September 10, 2014

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 September 10, 2014 a lunch & learn session being co-sponsored by Erie County Family Court & The International Institute on the topic of Human Trafficking is being held at  90 Franklin Street.  Human Trafficking is a serious problem that has been growing locally as well as nationally.
Human Trafficking TRaining
Right here in WNY, human traffickers intentionally target many of the very same youth that we work with….the more we know, the more likely we can try to intervene before it’s too late !  
Did you know that in Erie County………
  • In the past 6 months, 9 youth have been identified as trafficked youth by the International Institute of Buffalo.
  • In each case the trafficking began before the youth/family came to the attention of local agencies for “unrelated needs.”
  • In each case the trafficking continued while under the supervision and support of local agencies prior to identification of the trafficking, the challenge was the same: misidentification the youth’s presenting needs.
This training will address:
  • Definitions of Human Trafficking
  • Definitions of Safe Harbor Act for Exploited Children
  • Immigration issues related to Safe Harbor Act and Trafficking Victims Protection Act
  • Indicators of Human Trafficking of Minors
  • Trauma bonds and ambivalence in leaving trafficker
  • Safe Harbor in action (conversion to PINS, services instead of detention, housing challenges and options)



More Information 


Time to Talk About it: A two part workshop on depression, suicide awareness, and prevention

News, Training
Part 1: Depression, Suicide Awareness, and Stigma Reduction in Communities of Color (1.50 HOURS)
Part 2: Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) Gatekeeper Training (1.75 Hours)
Date: Friday, August 15th, 2014 Time: 9:00am- 12:30pm
United Way of Buffalo and Erie County
724 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo NY 14209
Cost: $ 30.00
Part 1 Session Objectives:
  • Be able to understand and describe a minimum of 3 origins of myth and misconception regarding suicide in communities of color.
  • Be able to understand and describe a minimum 3 cultural based perspectives that often prevent communities of color from acknowledging and openly discussing depression and suicide
  • Be able to understand and describe how cultural themes of masculinity in African-American culture compound the risk of suicide as it relates to untreated depression, trauma and PTSD.
  • Be able to generally understand and describe how mind, body and other self- help techniques can support recovery.
Part 2 Session Objectives:
  • Recognize a minimum of  4 common warning signs of suicide
  • Recognize and be able to describe why “the myth” regarding not asking directly about suicidal intention can actually increase the risk of an attempt of suicide.
  • Be able to identify a minimum of 4 myths and misconceptions regarding suicide.
  • Know and demonstrate how to specifically ask direct questions regarding suicidal thoughts and plans.
  • Know how to get help and save a life, using the 3 target QPR skill sets.
  • Be provided with structured practice of “The Question”, with coaching and feedback in a safe environment led by a Certified QPR Gatekeeper Instructor, in good standing.

Participants who successfully complete the training will also receive:

  1. QPR Booklet
  2. QPR Skill Card
  3. Nationally Recognized QPR Gatekeeper Training Certificate

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By clicking the submit button you are registering for CCNY’s Time to Talk About it Training and you will be taken to the payment page- there you will be able to pay the $30 registration fee for this training  by credit card. If you need to pay another way please contact Amanda at CCNY (

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If you wish to use credit card for your registration please register for training  on CCNY’s website using the online registration form and we accept payments via Pay Pal .

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Community Connections of New York
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Buffalo, New York 14210 


Refund Policy for CCNY Trainings:

A $5.00 processing fee applies to refund requests made at least 10 days prior to the start of the training.

A 50% refund is available thereafter.  Please note that no refunds will be issued within 72 hours from the start of training.

A processed registration may be switched from one participant to another without any additional fees or penalty.

For questions regarding registration, please contact Amanda Zwirecki at (716) 855-0007 ext. 316 or

For questions regarding the session itself, please contact Duncan Bethel at (716) 855-0007 ext. 308 or

2014 Program Evaluation Certificate Course

CCNY is  pleased to announce the return of  the Program Evaluation Certificate course being offered by UB’s School of Social Work.  This course is again being taught by CCNY’s  Heidi Milch and Brian Pagkos, with assistant instructors Andrea Minor and Amy Manning.  The 2014 program will be held at CCNY on September 12, September 26, October 10, and October 24, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm each day. Early Bird Registration goes from now until July 25, 2014.  More information and registration materials can be found at  UB’s School of Social Work Continuing Education page!

There are scholarship opportunities available for Erie and Niagara County staff from the Peter and Elizabeth C.  Tower Foundation.

What will you learn?

In this certificate program, you will learn the elements, tools and processes to complete program evaluation in a human service organization. This includes:

  •  The tools necessary to make evaluation an integrated component in your agency, program, and practice.
  • The basic foundations of program evaluation and methods, data collection techniques.
  • How to produce actionable information from data using Microsoft Excel and Access.
  • Skills to use your findings to promote and sustain improvement efforts in your organization.
  • How to develop a program evaluation and quality improvement initiative plan from start to completion.


Testimonial about Community Connections of New York:

“One of the most rewarding collaborations we experienced is with Community Connections of New York. We are most grateful for all the assistance given to us in the development of our evaluation database system. We are finally able to see whether or not we are making a difference in our drug/alcohol prevention education efforts…”Lucy Candelario, Executive Director, West Side Community Services

Creative TIC Training is FULL

Full Training

Thank you so much for interest in the Creative Trauma Informed Care with Youth at Risk for Delinquency and Gang Involvement Training.  At this time there are no more available spots for this training. Check back for future training oppotunities.

If you have any questions or need assistance please feel free to contact Amanda at CCNY 855-0007, ext 316.