Introduction to EQ2

EQ2 is an interactive training and support program for direct care staff working with youth at risk. It fills a critical gap in building trauma informed communities.

What does EQ2 mean?
EQ2 refers to the combined emotional intelligence of staff and the youth they serve. Research shows that the relationships youth create with caregiving adults hold enormous potential for healing and transformation. Yet, unless the adults engaging in these moment to moment, day to day interactions possess the self regulation and relational skills required to nurture safety and promote growth, creating truly trauma sensitive environments is unlikely. EQ2 is uniquely designed to help staff build the essential and often complex social and emotional regulation skills required to actively manage how they respond to youths’ traumatic stress reactions and challenging behavior.

Studies suggest that many direct care staff come to these roles having experienced greater rates of early childhood adversity than the general population. While this adversity builds staff commitment to serve, it also increases their vulnerability to secondary traumatic stress. Traditional approaches of providing “one off” training is not enough to build staffs’ foundational self-management skills and buffer them from burnout. Only through consistent opportunities for training and support can agencies equip staff with the resources they need to avoid the retraumatization of themselves and the youth in their care.

EQ2 supports staff working with trauma-impacted youth to:

  • Understand their own triggers
  • Build self-regulation skills in response to triggers
  • Learn strategies to effectively co-regulate with youth
  • Understand how trauma impacts youth behavior and the stress response system
  • Model and transmit effective social and emotional skills to youth
  • Build more attuned and reparative relationships with youth
  • Explore healthy boundaries in the workplace
  • Manage the stress and conflict that often arise between staff when working with high need populations
  • Increase staff understanding of trauma’s impact on youth’s behavior and development
  • Build listening skills and under responding techniques to deescalate crisis
  • Develop resiliency practices that help reduce burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and turnovers

Learn more about how EQ2 serves direct care staff.

Most agencies spend considerable energy and resources equipping youth with the social and emotional skills they need to lead productive lives. Yet often little is allocated toward empowering staff with the skills at the heart of their roles as caretakers, mentors, and coaches. EQ2 was developed after years of hearing youth in Power Source groups ask why we kept asking them to take a deep breath and change their thoughts in response to triggers but we didn’t ask the same of staff. By equipping both youth and staff with these life altering social and emotional skills, an upward spiral of trauma sensitive practices is launched. EQ2 can be used to support staff in:

  • Residential treatment centers and facilities
  • Community based programs
  • Group homes
  • Teen parenting programs
  • Inpatient and partial hospitalization settings
  • Mentoring programs

Secure and non-secure detention

Lionheart offers an adapted version of EQ2 for staff working in a detention setting. Please contact The Lionheart Foundation if you are a juvenile justice center interested in implementing EQ2.