The newsletter of the
International Trauma Training Institute (ITTI)
Mike Dubi, Ed.D., LMHC, Editor
Jeanne Thomas, MBA, Associate Editor
Summer/Fall 2018, Vol. 1, No. 3

More than ever before, the study and understanding of TRAUMA is a crucial tool for all those in the helping professions.

The Need for Trauma Training and Certification:
We hear from you that administrators and funders often require trauma-certified clinical staff. Since 2009, the International Trauma Training Institute (formerly International Association of Trauma Professionals) has responded to that need by ensuring that mental health professionals have the tools to identify and treat trauma, and to refer clients to those who specialize in specific areas of trauma if they so need.

Trauma Informed Care:
Further, many agencies who employ non-clinical front line staff see the need for trauma informed care. Agencies need to create, within their structure, a treatment framework that helps both their clinical and non-clinical employees to recognize, understand and respond to the effects of trauma.

Coming soon to address this need, ITTI is developing two brief online Trauma Informed Care trainings. One training will present the essentials of trauma informed care while the second training will present the essentials of trauma informed care in schools . Watch for e-blasts to announce the launch.

Next Cycle of Trainings:
The next training cycle begins on October 22, 2018. To view the courses and course descriptions, click on

We at ITTI look forward to working with you as we continue to create and develop new trainings.

Mike Dubi, ITTI President

I Teach People How to Breathe!
Jody Ritter

Positive reinforcement word Breathe engrained in a rock

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they breathe. You can tell if they carry grief and a broken heart or maybe if they have difficulty letting go of control. You can tell if there is deep seated trauma and how strong their will is to continue in this life all from the patterns of their breath. 

My name is Jody Ritter and I’m a therapist working in private practice in Rhode Island and I teach people about their restricted breathing patterns. Along with the counseling that I do I am a Certified Transformational Breath® Facilitator (CTBF). Most of the people I work with have experienced some form of trauma in their life and as we work to correct restricted breathing patterns they transform the inner demons that have taken over their lives.

What is Transformational Breath® (TBr)? It is a self-healing modality that was developed by Dr. Judith Kravitz in the mid-seventies. An international school and foundation has been established that trains facilitators throughout the world reaching 51 countries over 6 continents. I feel incredibly fortunate and grateful to be a part of this breathwork family. 

TBr is different from other integrative breathwork or Yogic Pranayama. It incorporates a full diaphragmatic breath, connected inhale and relaxed exhale, intentions and affirmations, hands on pressure points, toning and somatic integration. It is practiced to music that matches the breathing. It can be practiced individually and in groups and after a few facilitated sessions clients can practice TBr without a facilitator. Certified Transformational Breath Facilitators come from all walks of life. They are therapists, yoga instructors, teachers, doctors, spiritual leaders, fitness and energy practitioners.

How does TBR work? During the first TBr session, I conduct a breath analysis of the clients current breathing pattern where we observe how the client regularly breathes in their daily life. Do they hold their breath? Is their breathing shallow? We discuss what their breath analysis shows about their life and a connection is made between the physical and mental/emotional aspects in their lives. Often the client becomes more connected to their feelings just through the breath analysis. 

I then teach the client how to breathe from their diaphragm and to understand where it is and what it feels like when it is being used. We practice a continuous breath pattern where there are no pauses between the inhale and exhale. As stated above, it is different from most breath work patterns because we want a relaxed exhale rather than a controlled exhale. The client is instructed to relax their mouth, lips and jaw and breathe with their mouth open. If the client pushes, controls or holds their exhale it can be symbolic of how they try to control their lives, pushing away their good, trying to gain control or holding onto problems in their life. The retraining of the restrictive breathing pattern takes time but usually within 3 breathing sessions the client is able to use the Transformational Breath® pattern and their “body breathes” them.

When the diaphragm is used correctly it gives the internal organs a nice little massage and activates the vagus nerve starting at the pelvic floor and continues to activate the parasympathetic nerve helping to regulate the fight, flight, freeze response. During a breathing session the client may have tears flow without knowledge or understanding of why or where they are coming from. They may have intense emotional reactions. By using the continuous breathing, we touch and transform deeply repressed and suppressed emotions. During this intense time the client is instructed to use vocal toning and somatic regulations in the form of moving their arms back and forth in a drumming motion or tapping their upper thighs. Affirmations are used throughout the session which help reframe negative thoughts that reinforces fear and trauma. After this intensity the client continues to breathe and may re-experience the emotional reactions but with less intensity. Client’s are instructed to use the vocal toning and somatic regulation when they feel the need. Time is allocated at the end of the session for quiet relaxation and integration of what occurred physically.

How I became involved with TBR. I came to TBr through my own healing process. I was a victim of a violent crime in my early adult life. I had been strangled and held at gun point and am very lucky to be alive, but I suffered from PTSD ever since. I searched for “relief” from the debilitating symptoms for over 30 years and while much of the therapeutic process helped immensely there was always something missing and the physiological symptoms of PTSD never disappeared fully. I came upon a TBr workshop and attended. I experienced immediate relief and knew that I needed to continue in this modality and also become a facilitator, so I could share this with my clients. It touched the repressed and suppressed emotions my body held on a cellular level. Confirmation of this was that that the somatic reactions I would experience when startled or in fear, such as red marks on my neck and a burning sensation in my trachea stopped and have not returned. I committed to the training and self-healing process and am thrilled to say that something I thought would be with me for my entire life is gone. I no longer have this sense of something missing in the healing process and the hole that was created long ago and reinforced throughout my life is gone and now I am witness to this healing process with my clients.

My clients have experienced good success/relief from depression, anxiety, grief and trauma, PTSD, somatic difficulties and physically better sleep and more energy. In addition to working with people who have mental health problems I have worked with people who have MS, COPD, Asthma and circulation problems.

I use a waver for clients participating in TBr and am covered by additional insurance for body workers. I modify the TBr process in therapy and teach my clients how to do the hands-on acupressure points for themselves. As a CTBF I facilitate all aspects of TBr and provide TBR group where people “breathe” together which is an amazing healing experience.

Research about TBr in the areas of depression, anxiety, CBT and the physical benefits of Transformational Breathing® and more information on Transformational Breath® can be found at . Here is a further link related to the research

About the Author

Jody Ritter, LMSW started working in the field of Domestic Violence in the 1980's as an advocate and received her Master's degree in Counseling Education from North Dakota State University in 1993 and continued her work in domestic violence crisis centers. Jody coordinated and established a home-based counseling program for a crisis center in Minnesota that focused on child witnesses to domestic violence through a nationally funded grant for rural victims of domestic violence. Jody worked with children and families as a home-based counselor prior to receiving her CAGS in 2015 from Northeastern University in Counseling Psychology and became a Certified Transformational Breath Facilitator in 2016. Jody now works as an independent private practice therapist in Rhode Island focusing on people who experience trauma, depression and anxiety. 


Workplace Bullying and
How to Defuse It
Debbie Lyn Toomey, RN

Bully Free Zone
Have You Ever Been Bullied?
Whether your answer is yes or no, this article is worth reading because you or someone you know may find it useful.
People of all ages can fall prey to bullying. While we typically hear of incidents of bullying on the school grounds, little is mentioned about bullying that occurs in the health care industry. Even though August was “Don’t be a Bully Month,” anytime is the perfect time to bring more awareness around this insidious and silent issue.

What is Workplace Bullying?
Workplace bullying is any act of incivility, disrespect, or mistreatment to another at work. In its most severe form, it can become violent. Damages from such unprofessional and inappropriate actions can cause both psychological and physical injury.

Workplace bullying is toxic. It creates an unhappy and unhealthy environment. Workplace bullying affects not only the victim, but also the witnesses, and eventually the organization. The closest incident that I came to being bullied was when a nursing colleague complained about me and challenged my nursing practice in front of other nurses. It came unexpectedly and it shook me to the core. I couldn’t focus on my work after this verbal attack. I was consumed with feelings of anger, betrayal, disappointment, and so much more! I had just experienced lateral violence.

Lateral Violence
“Nurses eat their young” is a saying that I’ve heard other nurses say when they talked about our profession. While I cringe at this aggressive depiction of what’s supposed to be the “most trusted profession,” I can see where this type of stereotype came from. Lateral violence or abuse in the workplace consists of verbal and nonverbal acts of passive aggressive actions in the workplace. The Journal of Professional Nursing ( J. Prof. Nurs., 2017) states that lateral violence is prevalent among nurses and that new nursing graduates are particularly victims of this problem. Major impacts of lateral violence are psychological in nature, and affect staffing and retention rate of nurses. 

Needless to say, I was distressed by the bullying that I experienced. I had never been treated like that before! I’ve always striven to be kind, thoughtful, and helpful to everyone. I’ve always gone out of my way to support that nurse because she frequently complained about something unfortunate in her personal life.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2018), professionals who are at most risk for fatal violence in the workplace are people in sales, protective services, and transportation. On the other hand, professionals in the health care and social services are most at risk for nonfatal violence that results in sick days or leaves of absence.

Workplace bullying is real and should not be treated as normal behavior or dismissed by employers!

Defuse It
Here are some ways to help you rise above this negativity and reclaim your happiness at work:

  • Take a mindful pause. Notice how it made you feel. Breathe and regain your composure.
  • Talk to a close friend to get validation about the situation.
  • Aim to defuse this issue as soon as possible.
  • Think about what you are going to say and practice it out loud by yourself or with a trusted colleague.
  • With a calm and confident demeanor, talk to the person that caused you upset. As a professional, try to handle this situation by yourself before seeking any assistance.
  • In confronting the person who bullied you, stick to the bullying incident. Don’t bring up unrelated issues because it will weaken your point. Finish by telling him or her that you will not tolerate that kind of behavior.
  • If the person repeats this negative behavior, then it’s time to officially discuss this recurring behavior with your manager or your Employee Assistance Program. This ill behavior needs to be treated as soon as possible. Know that your extra efforts will help to create a safe, supportive, and happy work environment. 

It Worked!
As for me, what worked after being humiliated by a nursing colleague was to confront her face-to-face. After talking with my husband about how shocked and upset I was, I mustered up the courage and the words to explain to her what she did and how she made me feel. Further, I told her to never treat me like that again. And it worked! After that moment, that nurse left me alone and became more courteous. I was so proud and happy with myself for speaking up!

Take It or Leave It
You have a choice to either take it or leave it. If you decide not to take action about the bullying behavior, you can bet that it will happen again, and again, and … again. If you decide to address it, take care of it sooner rather than later.

It is important to avoid toxic and harmful behavior from escalating by speaking out and standing up for yourself. Don’t ever feel that you have to tolerate bullying from anyone. You have the right to be respected and feel supported so that you can always do your best work.

If you need coaching on how to handle workplace bullying or other stress-inducing issues, contact me at [email protected]

About the Author

Debbie Lyn Toomey RN, BSN, CIPP, is a corporate trainer, health and wellness coach, Laughter Yoga Leader, and mindfulness educator and researcher. Debbie is the founder of Ultimate Healing Journey, LLC and believes in a holistic approach to optimal health and happiness. She trains companies, schools, and organizations how to use mindfulness and happiness skills to boost their productivity, performance, and positivity. 
In 2017, Debbie Toomey created a mindfulness training program and conducted a pilot study on its effectiveness on stress reduction and wellbeing for nurses.
Debbie Toomey has authored the The Happiness Result: More Time, More Love, More Success available from Amazon:

Other works include: The Happiness Result – Goals, Gratitude, & Success Journal , and the coloring book, The Happiness Result – Express & Enjoy Yourself. The Happiness Result book is currently being used in Pelham High School, New Hampshire’s Managing the Mind course. To learn more about Debbie Lyn Toomey, visit


Milton's Secret
reviewed by
Barbara Koffske Reid, Ph.D.

Milton’s Secret is based on the work of Eckhart Tolle and his children's book of the same title, which was written in response to numerous requests for Eckhart to bring his message of presence and mindfulness to families. Writer director Barnett Bain took the themes of the book and adapted them to reflect the present day challenges affecting many families and children. The film is a powerful family drama that explores the themes of stress, parenting, bullying, and a young boy trying to deal with it all. The movie offers a practical way to deal with the negative effects of chronic normalized stress. 
Twelve-year-old Milton Adams is overwhelmed and feels like his world is in crisis. His parents are dealing with the never-ending demands and pressures of career, finances, work, technology, and just trying to keep up in a hectic, fast paced world and it takes a toll on their relationship and their family. They are experiencing stress in nearly every aspect of their lives and Milton feels it all! He takes on their worries, even as he is dealing with the bully at school. He is constantly anxious. But when Milton's grandfather comes to visit, he begins to see there is a different way of responding to the worry, stress, and anxiety that have come to be part of his day-to-day existence. Milton notices that his grandfather is less reactive in the face of confrontation, he maintains his calm, and has a deep appreciation for the present moment. As Milton begins to take on some of his grandfather’s ways, he begins to notice changes in himself and with his family as he discovers the secret to finding true happiness.
According to Dr. Koffske Reid, who teaches and lectures on the topic of stress and effective ways of coping in a multitude of settings:
“There are powerful messages in the movie that offer us an opportunity to notice how we react the to various stressors in our lives and importantly, to consider responding differently. The movie is relevant to a broad audience. Whether young or old, male or female, student or teacher, child or adult, parent, grandparent, many of us find ourselves dealing with more and more stress daily, often to the point where we become overwhelmed. Without effective ways of coping, the stressors may have escalated to a point where we feel traumatized and may even experience symptoms of burnout and PTSD. Given the growing body of literature on the effectiveness of mindfulness approaches in lessening the negative effects of stress and helping to reduce the rates of burnout and even PTSD, I feel this is an important movie for all of us impacted by stress to watch and serves as an important reminder that we can approach life differently.”
To learn more about Milton’s Secret or to watch the trailer, go to


Dr. Barbara Koffske Reid, Ph.D., M.A., M.Ed., LMFT is professor and chair of the Bachelor of Science in Wellness & Health Promotion at Cambridge College, Boston. She has served as an educational consultant in the development of the curriculum for the feature movie Milton’s Secret starring Donald Sutherland and Michelle Rodrigues.
Courses Leading to Certification

October 22 - December 2, 2018
All courses are NBCC approved
(ACEP# 6674)
  • Clinical Trauma Professional (CTP), 13 CE hours
  • Anger Management Treatment Professional (AMTP), 13 CE Hours)
  • Child & Adolescent Trauma Professional (CATP), 13 CE Hours
  • Clinical Trauma for Social Workers, 13 CE Hours (this course is also NASW approved #886782500-1939)

October 22 - December 16, 2018
This course is NBCC approved
(ACEP# 6674)

  • Sex Offender Treatment Provider (SOTP), 24 CE Hours

Additional Trauma Courses

October 22 - December 2, 2018
All courses are NBCC approved
(ACEP# 6674)

  • Attachment & Trauma (AT), 13 CE Hours)
  • Neurobiology for Mental Health Professionals (NB), 13 CE Hours
  • Preparing Forensic Assessments (PFA), 13 CE Hours
  • Clinicians in the Courtroom (CIC), 13 CE Hours
  • Victimology (VIC), 13 CE Hours
  • Treating Sexual Addiction (TSA) 13 CE Hours
  • NEW!! Neurobiology of Addictions (NA), 13 CE Hours