About Us

Education and Treatment Alternatives, Inc. (ETA):

has been providing Aggression Replacement Training® since 1998.  We offer online and in-person training, coaching, and fidelity monitoring for staff in a variety of settings (i.e., residential, community-based, school-based, probation, private practice).  Our mission is to ensure that agencies can implement and sustain the model with fidelity.  Aggression Replacement Training® is an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral intervention for use with aggressive children, adolescents, and adults.  It consists of three components delivered sequentially: Skillstreaming, Anger Control, and Moral Reasoning.  This is a constructive multi-modal approach to dealing with aggression that is rooted in the belief that violence is primarily a learned behavior.

 

ETA Founders Mark Amendola, LCSW and Robert Oliver, Ed.D. worked and trained with Arnold Goldstein, Ph.D. for several years prior to his passing in 2002.  Together they formed the United States Center for Aggression Replacement Training® located at www.uscart.org as an online resource to continue Dr. Goldstein’s life work.  ETA has held true to his charge to continue to evolve and spread the model, by facilitating upwards of 350 trainings where over 6,000 practitioners have been trained to implement the model with fidelity.  They have trained practitioners for various social service agencies in all 50 states, Canada, Saipan, Australia, Sweden, and Poland. Their published articles and Research Summary can be found here Information & Articles – Education and Treatment Alternatives (uscart.org).

 

Since 2004, ETA has worked with the California Institute for Behavioral Health Services to collaborate on a large evidence-based practice project for the implementation of Aggression Replacement Training® that includes 73 public and private non-profit agencies, including 33 probation departments.  Today, we want to ensure that this evidence base practice continues to be part of California’s diverse behavioral health care landscape.  When you are looking to implement, sustain, or rejuvenate your evidence-based practices and need measurable outcomes, we want you to trust Education and Treatment Alternatives to provide you with all the resources your Agency needs to be successful!

 

ETA Founders and Senior Master Trainers:

 Mark Amendola, LCSW – Mr. Amendola trained and was mentored by Aggression Replacement Training’s® primary developer Arnold Goldstein, Ph.D. and has been training practitioners nationally since 1998.  Mr. Amendola has over 30 years of experience in clinical services provision and administration, primarily with adolescents and their families.  He is currently the Evidenced Based Coordinator of Perseus House, Inc. was the CEO for 24 years prior to that position and was the co-developer of the Charter School of Excellence in Erie, Pa.  Perseus House is a multiservice agency that includes the Charter School and a national training site for the Life Space Crisis Institute.  He is also an Adjunct Professor for Mercyhurst College in the Criminal Justice Program and the International Institute for Restorative Practices.  He is a Senior Aggression Replacement Training® Master Trainer, providing training and supervising the Master Trainers listed below.

Robert Oliver, Ed.D. – Dr. Oliver has over 40 years of experience in youth mental health services and education.  Dr. Oliver, mentored by Aggression Replacement Training’s® primary developer Arnold Goldstein, Ph.D., has been training nationally since 1998.  He retired the Chief Educational Officer of the Charter School of Excellence, and has been a teacher, administrator, and Assistant Superintendent in the School District of the City of Erie.  Dr. Oliver was an Adjunct Professor at Gannon University in the Education Department.  He is a Senior Aggression Replacement Training® Master Trainer, providing training and supervising Aggression Replacement Training® Trainers listed below.

ETA Staff – Master Trainers

Lynnet Scully, B.A. – Ms. Scully has over 10 years of experience as an Aggression Replacement Training® Facilitator before becoming a Master Trainer in 2005.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and is currently working on her Master’s.  Ms. Scully has been a Case Manager at the Collaborative Intensive Community Treatment Program with over 17 years of experience in youth services. She is currently the Director of Admissions of Perseus House, Inc. and has a thriving consultancy business.

Nick Viglione, Ed. D. – Dr. Viglione is currently the CEO of Perseus House, Inc & Charter School of Excellence located in Erie PA. He is a national trainer for Education and Treatment Alternatives, and Life Space Crisis Intervention institute. His career includes Adjunct faculty at Gannon University and is currently a member of local, county and state advisory committees. He is a published author and recipient of the 2006 Arnold Goldstein Humanitarian Award. Credentials include B.S. in Psychology, M.S. in Counseling Psychology, Doctoral degree in Education Leadership, Education Certifications in Guidance, Administration, and Superintendent Letter of Eligibility.

 Paula Laughlin, LCSW – Paula Laughlin is the Clinical Director and Quality Improvement Coordinator for Perseus House, Inc., Erie, PA.  She holds a license in Clinical Social Work and received her bachelor’s  degree in Social Work in 1979 from Gannon University and her Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH in 1988. She has worked extensively in prevention and intervention with at-risk children and youth for over 40 years. She has also served as an adjunct professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Mercyhurst College, Erie, PA (2002) as well as an adjunct professor in Social Work for Case Western Reserve University (2004 to 2009).  Ms. Laughlin has had experience as both a facilitator and Master Trainer in Aggression Replacement Training (ART) over the past 17 years. She has also received certification as a Senior Trainer in Life Space Crisis Intervention 2004 to present).

 Tom Ranalli, MSW– is Director of Children and Family Services at VisionQuest. He has comprehensive experience in trauma informed care, as well as evidence based practices. He was trained in Aggression Replacement Training® as a facilitator in 2004 and has been a Master Trainer since 2012.

Noel Gillard – has extensive experience in teaching, counseling, individual/group therapy, and educational practices servicing juveniles, adults, and families in institutional and community-based settings.  He’s served several years as a Certified Sex Offender Counselor for NYS OCFS at their secure facility which houses adjudicated males. Noel is also the founder of Brother’s Keeper Mentoring, Inc., which primary mission is to service and mentor teen and adult males returning to the community from residential/correctional facilities, and to service fathers disconnected from their family in the evidence-based 24/7 Dad, Moral Recognition, and Strengthening Families modalities.

Evidence Based Practice Criteria

 The advantage associated with the utilization of the evidence based practice of Aggression Replacement Training® is that practitioners can be mental health clinicians, or probation, mental health or other agency paraprofessionals.  In selecting staff for Aggression Replacement Training®, ETA works with agencies to develop strategies that, whenever possible, allow trainees to “sign up” for training.  Particularly with the first training cohort, willing and interested participants enhance the efficiency and quality of the initial implementation.  Success with this first cohort goes far to elicit the interest of additional staff members.  We counsel that the following attributes predict an individual’s ability to provide high quality Aggression Replacement Training®:

Knowledge of the Model

  • Interest in using the Model
  • Comfort level in facilitating groups with teens
  • Comfort level in role-playing and related group facilitation skills
  • Ability to manage youth behavior through clear directions, consequences and calm demeanor
  • Ability to apply skills training curriculum as designed (without deletions, additions or substitutions)

ETA trains participants to deliver the full dose of Skillstreaming, Anger Control and Moral Reasoning group sessions that together compose the Aggression Replacement Training® program as described in the OJJDP Model Programs Guide.  This is the full and complete Model.

The practice training is provided or supervised by individuals at ETA who were trained and mentored by Arnold Goldstein, Ph.D., the primary developer and researcher associated with Aggression Replacement Training®.  The trainers utilize a training curriculum, along with Aggression Replacement Training®:  A Comprehensive Intervention for Aggressive Youth (Glick, Gibbs 2010).  To become Aggression Replacement Training® practitioners, trainees participate in a series of didactic trainings and coaching sessions, and eventually submit tapes for review by Aggression Replacement Training® Master Trainers, who look for indications that the trainee is delivering the practice with fidelity to the Model.

Frequency and Dosage

 The required frequency is 3 hours per week for 10 weeks. Each component is delivered one hour per week for the 3 hours. The total number of sessions is 30 for a total of 30 hours.

Scope of Work Activities

ETA created the Model to support evidence based practice implementation in response to data suggesting that most agencies do not have adequate experience and expertise to successfully implement evidence based practices with Model adherence.  A key component of the process is a careful education and planning process that ensures that agencies commit to evidence based practice implementation only when they are fully informed about the resources and commitments necessary to do so successfully.  This requires that agencies understand that they must meet implementation responsibilities in the following areas:

  1. Clients – Assure adequate numbers of clients and efficient referral processes that will allow the practice to function once established.
  2. Integration into agency services – Aggression Replacement Training® must fit efficiently in the service continuum to avoid areas of redundancy or gaps.
  3. Staffing – Identify staff who have necessary qualifications and motivation to provide the practice.
  4. Supervision – Supportive supervision that reinforces Model adherent practice.
  5. Funding – Sufficient funding to support implementation activities, maintenance activities, and service provision.
  6. Assuring fidelity and Model adherence – To provide support for and to require the requisite staff to develop the Model with fidelity.
  7. Administrative oversight – To maintain standards for Model adherence, provide support necessary for Model adherent implementation and address barriers to successful implementation.

Our experience is that agencies arrange, on their own, for training with practice developers who frequently find that – after expending considerable resources – they were unprepared for the inevitable implementation challenges that can result in increased unanticipated costs, and delays or abandonment of implementation.  The ETA planning process, which offers increasing amounts of information and technical assistance in a sequenced manner, allows agencies to fully prepare for implementation.  This planning is a key factor to implementation.

ETA support to staff is a key component of successful implementation before, during and after implementation.  This process supports implementation, as well as organizational development that eventually enable agencies to maintain and expand the program.  The following is a list of ETA organizational implementation support activities independently:

  • Planning – ETA reviews with sites timely planning necessary to assure successful implementation.
  • Fidelity Checklists – Aggression Replacement Training® practitioners are encouraged to complete fidelity checklists at the completion of group sessions. These are self-learning tools, as well as information that can be used by site supervisors/Q.A. staff and/or during Cluster Coaching Calls.
  • Cluster Coaching Calls – Each cluster of practitioners and supervisors participate in monthly calls in which Master Trainers review performance, provide targeted coaching, answer practitioner/supervisor questions, and problem-solve Aggression Replacement Training® group concerns.
  • Agency Trainers – Agency Trainers are uniquely qualified to support ongoing program supervisions, fidelity monitoring and coaching, when the need is identified.
  • Agency Staff Meetings – ETA encourages the establishment of agency Aggression Replacement Training® staff meetings to reinforce Model adherence.

Training for Facilitators

ETA offers both virtual and in-person training to staff that is tailored to your specific organizations’ needs!  Our online course is an asynchronous learning experience that is designed for facilitators to learn how to implement all three aspects of the model with fidelity.  We also offer live virtual trainings every month (as a follow up to the online course).  These virtual trainings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 10am – 2pm Eastern Time.

For groups of people, we schedule trainings on a case-by-case basis.  These trainings can be in-person or virtual according to your preference.

Train The Trainer Options

ETA also has a Train the Trainer option that we refer to as an Agency Trainer.  The Agency Trainer is trained to administer the training of staff within your organization. They ensure fidelity to the model, measure outcomes, perform ongoing maintenance, and ensure sustainability of the program.  This option requires Re-Certification every 3 Years.

Ongoing Maintenance and Sustainability

  1. After the completion of the train the trainer program, annually, all groups should be observed 20% of the time by a trained facilitator. The observers’ observations should be then de-briefed with the co-facilitators.
  2. Annually all facilitators should submit, randomly assigned by the agency trainer, fidelity tools for one ten week round which, would be 30 sessions. These should be evaluated by the agency trainer for fidelity issues and model adherence.
  3. There should also be a one-day booster with all trained facilitators to review updates and conduct guided practice.
  4. Agency Trainers need to be re-certified every 3 years.

Fidelity Monitoring

Tools used to assess program delivery to youth include fidelity assessment tools and outcome evaluation tools.  The fidelity assessment tools have been developed by ETA and are used as a self-learning tool (self-rating by Aggression Replacement Training® practitioners following each group), in the clinical consultation provided to newly trained facilitators, and as a sustainability tool (ratings completed by supervisors or QA staff).  There is a separate fidelity tool for each of the three Aggression Replacement Training® components (Skillstreaming, Anger Control Training, and Moral Reasoning Training).  Training and technical assistance for these tools are provided by ETA. Fidelity tools are to be filled out for the entire 1st year of implementation. For sustainability, following the first year, they should be randomly assigned to all facilitators one time each year (30 fidelity sheets completed) and reviewed by the agency trainer.

Component-specific measures include the Skillstreaming Checklists (for youth who participate in Skillstreaming groups); the Aggression Questionnaire® (for youth who participate in Anger Control groups); and the How I Think Questionnaire® (for youth who participate in Moral Reasoning groups).  The Skillstreaming Checklists are public domain and are available free of charge; the Aggression Questionnaire® and the How I Think Questionnaire® are standardized, copy-righted measures that are purchased through their publishers (Western Psychological Services and Research Press, respectively).

Sites also have the option of tracking recidivism as measured by arrests or sustained petitions.

In addition to outcome evaluation measures, we recommend that sites track data on the demographics of all youth served and on the level of service delivery (number of groups completed) received by each youth (for each of the three Aggression Replacement Training® components).

Feedback on group facilitation is provided to trainees on an ongoing basis during the consultation period by an ETA Master Trainer.  Using the fidelity monitoring tools, trained facilitators are provided with specific information about their level of Model adherence across multiple dimensions.  Each facilitator is also provided specific feedback about their videotaped group facilitation, and deemed “proficient” when they have met the standards jointly decided by ETA.

 

*ETA encourages agency staff to establish quality assurance processes, utilizing tools provided by the project, to maintain Aggression Replacement Training® practice quality and outcomes.  Agency-Trainers or QA staff can use the fidelity tools to independently observe and rate practitioners on their performance running groups.

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