COMING SOON: A new program from the Lionheart Foundation.  For an overview, please click on video below.


EQ2 Empowering Direct Care Staff to Build Trauma-Informed Communities for Youth

EQ2 is a program designed to support direct-care staff working with high-risk, trauma-impacted youth, particularly those who have been involved in the child welfare or juvenile detention systems. Experts increasingly understand that managing the traumatic stress reactions that system-involved youth often present with can take a profound toll on the well-being of staff and result in trauma symptoms which permeate the larger organization. Secondary trauma has been shown to lead to increased levels of staff stress, burnout, and turnover, as well as lowered quality of care for youth. Recently, calls for “trauma-informed systemic approaches” have been issued to help agencies respond to youth and staff trauma-related needs. But without equipping staff with critical skills required to actively manage their own stress-responses to highly-charged emotional events, creating a truly trauma-sensitive environment is unlikely.

Using the term, emotion coaching, Lionheart’s EQ2 program begins by increasing staffs’ awareness of youths’ trauma-related behavior, helping staff build relationship-focused competencies, and expanding crisis intervention knowledge. What is unique about the EQ2 approach, however, is the focus on building staff’s own social and emotional skills including increased awareness of their emotional state and triggers to prevent crisis with youth, learning personalized cognitive-behavioral strategies to help  co-regulate with youth, learning how to return to “emotional baseline” after stressful incidents, and building stress management and resiliency skills to handle the emotional fallout that is common when working with this population. Further, by addressing staffs’ need for social support, EQ2 is designed to reduce burnout and foster a more caring and contagiously positive environment for everyone in the milieu.

EQ2 Topics Include:

  • Definition and behavioral characteristics of an Effective Emotion Coach
  • How trauma impacts youth behavior and the stress-response system
  • Approaches to building positive and reparative relationships with youth
  • Promoting and supporting positive behaviors through praise
  • Listening skills and under-responding techniques to de-escalate crisis
  • Understanding our own triggers and avoiding “Brain Hijackings”
  • Interactive exercises examining healthy boundaries in the workplace
  • Approaches to repair relationships with youth and
  • Strategies to provide feedback to and resolve conflict with co-workers
  • High-impact skills to increase staff’s self-regulation
  • Understanding youth identity development in the wake of trauma

What is included in the EQ2 Program?

Agencies who sign up for the EQ2 Program will receive access to:

The EQ2 online learning platform consists of six modules guiding facilitators through the implementation of the EQ2 program. It includes:

  • instructional videos,
  • audio recordings of mindfulness exercises,
  • animations,
  • “Go To Guides” and
  • an assessment tool to support facilitators in leading EQ2 groups.

Enrolled agencies will also be provided with printed versions of:

  • EQ2 Participant Handbooks and
  • an annotated Facilitators Guide that includes material for the 6 EQ2 groups as well as Supplemental Material for refresher sessions.

In addition, all agency staff (not just those participating in the EQ2 groups) will have access to the EQ2 app that contains:

  • animated videos,
  • guided visualizations,
  • mindfulness meditations,
  • and other self-regulation exercises designed to reinforce the material found in the EQ2 participant handbook.

The EQ2 program also includes a range of supportive materials to help build trauma-sensitive environments including posters, wristbands, stickers, and post-cards.

What EQ2 participants are saying

“EQ2 has improved my overall confidence day to day and helped me in regulating my emotions, conveying them in a less reactive manner.”

 “Whenever I felt disrespected by a youth I used to react right away. But now before I react, I breathe. Take my time and come out with a Cool Thought. Recently on crew when a youth tried to bait me into an argument. I did Stop, Breathe and Choose and kept myself from engaging in a reactive, negative way.”

“What I liked most about EQ2 was that we got to discuss our thoughts. It gave that support we all need from one another. There were times when I had a very long week at work and this group session was all I had to look forward to.”

“The training provided new skills. It caused me to stop and think about how I handle situations and think about all the trauma that our kids have experienced. It allowed me to look at the youth in a different light and gave me more understanding and patience.”

“EQ2 impacted my work space a lot. When I was going through a struggle with a resident and didn’t know how to go by it I would think about the EQ2 and the new techniques I learned in group.”

“As a supervisor, EQ2 has helped me to realize that staff too experience trauma when our youth go through crisis… We expect our staff to be ok. They’re adults. They’re fine. But that’s not always the case. Of the 14 years I have been in the childcare field, EQ2 has been the most memorable and effective training I have participated in and I feel it has made me a better supervisor.”


Alert Me When EQ2 is Available!