Associate Program

Collaborative Problem Solving

Collaborative Problem Solving® (CPS), developed at Massachusetts General Hospital, is an evidence-based, trauma-informed practice proven to reduce challenging behavior, teach kids the skills they lack, and build relationships with adults. We can help you bring a more accurate, compassionate, and effective approach to working with children with behavior challenges to your organization, school, district, facility, or program.

Associate Program Overview

The Think:Kids Associate Program is designed for organizations interested in learning Collaborative Problem Solving but not currently in a position to take on organization-wide intensive implementation through our Partnership Program. Think:Kids encourages these organizations to have as many staff as possible trained at the Tier 1 level. The next step is developing one or more internal CPS expert teams. The identified individuals should complete Tier 2 training and then apply to enter the CPS Certification Course. The number of staff participating in these activities will depend on the size of your organization and the resources available. Think:Kids can provide guidance on selecting these individuals as needed.

Many organizations use the Associate Program as a jumping-off point for future intensive implementation through our Partnership Program. The services listed below are contracted directly with your organization and are held exclusively for your staff and employees. Any in-person services are subject to additional travel costs, to be invoiced separately.

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Contact us to learn more about our Associate Program and how to bring Collaborative Problem Solving to your organization, school, district, or facility today!

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Associate Program Training Options

Introductory Training: Fundamentals Overview
This training introduces the basic principles of Collaborative Problem Solving, an innovative and evidence-based approach to understanding and helping kids with challenging behavior. Participants learn a more empathic and accurate understanding of what causes challenging behavior and are exposed to an overview of the three key components of the CPS approach. This training lays the foundation for further learning opportunities.

Tier 1 Training: Essential Foundations
This foundational training provides an in-depth exploration of CPS’s philosophy and all three model components–assessment, planning, and intervention. Through didactic lectures, role play, video examples, case studies, and breakout groups, participants learn how to identify the cognitive skill deficits contributing to challenging behavior and address those deficits using a relational and replicable process with built-in practical guideposts and worksheets. Participants will be exposed to the neurobiology of CPS and how the method facilitates brain development and supports the latest research on trauma-informed care. At the end of this training, participants will be prepared to begin applying and practicing the model in their setting.

Tier 2 Training: Advanced Concepts
Participants will advance their skills by learning strategies for implementing the approach in the most challenging situations using real-life examples from their experiences. Tier 2 introduces how to support others using the approach, addresses common resistances, including a lack of “buy-in,” and teaches how to use CPS in emergencies and groups. Additional topics include fostering self-regulation through Plan B, integrating behavioral approaches and therapeutic models, and identifying when and how to use relational vs. didactic skills training.

Participants will apply the model through didactic lectures, role-playing, videotape examples, case presentations, and breakout groups with topics of specific interest to clinicians and educators. After completing Tier 2 Training, participants are eligible to apply to the CPS Certification Course.

Certification Course
The Certification Course is intended for individuals looking to become experts in the CPS approach. The course provides highly individualized training and support. The Certification Course provides training, small group supervision, and individual coaching using recordings of participant work to provide detailed feedback. Trainees learn to recognize common mistakes made using the CPS approach, identify their own errors, and correct course in the moment.

Once Certified in CPS, individuals become members of our international community that receives ongoing training and support from Think:Kids, enabling them to remain up-to-date on changes and advances in the model. Individuals also receive access to a vast array of resources and materials and are recognized on our website as an expert in Collaborative Problem Solving. They are approved to conduct parent/caregiver classes in their community and serve as an in-house advisor on CPS best practices.

Certified Trainer Course
Individuals who are CPS Certified may apply for the Certified Trainer Course. This course is intended for individuals interested in providing formal, large group training in the CPS model and/or small group coaching. The Certified Trainer Course supports learners by providing instruction in the use of training materials and activities and co-training opportunities with individualized coaching to provide detailed feedback.

Trainer certification is the best way for organizations to instill CPS into their program’s culture in a sustainable way. Upon completion of the CPS Certified Trainer Program, participants join our passionate and talented community of Certified Trainers and receive ongoing support and professional development from Think:Kids. Certified Trainers are authorized to conduct Introductory and Tier 1 training in their organization and community using official Think:Kids training materials.

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