Session DetAILS

Barry University

Jill Levenson, Ph.D., LCSW


Jill Levenson, PhD, LCSW is a professor of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL, and has been practicing as a clinical social worker since 1989. She is a SAMHSA-certified Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) trainer, and has expertise in trauma-informed and trauma-responsive service delivery in child welfare, forensic social work, criminal justice, restorative justice, and behavioral health.

She has published 5 books and over 120 articles, and her research has been funded by US National Institutes of Justice, National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Dr. Levenson brings a unique and innovative voice to the skills of translating TIC principles into practice within SOTX programs. Dr. Levenson has presented about trauma-informed care in clinical, correctional, behavioral health, and forensic settings in over 25 states and in Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong, Norway, Scotland, New Zealand, and Australia.

Learning Objectives (3 hours): 

1. Become informed about the neurocognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral impacts of trauma for justice-involved clients.

2. Conceptualize dynamic risk dysregulation through the trauma lens.

3. Identify triggers and manifestations of post-conviction traumatic stress.

4. Learn a variety of specific and unique strategies to treat PCTS in SOTX programs.

The concepts and skills discussed in the workshop can be used in the context of programs designed to address criminal behavior (e.g. sex-offending, domestic violence, or substance abuse). By incorporating trauma- informed and trauma-responsive services, we can re-envision community re-entry programs to reduce dysregulation, manage dynamic risk, and enhance client well-being – all of which contribute to goals of community safety.


Saturday 9:00am – 12:15pm EST – 3 CEU Awarded

Many scholars have proposed that involvement in the CJ system and the stress of re-entry should be considered a form of trauma (LeBel & Richie, 2018; Liem & Kunst, 2013; Listwan et al., 2013; Pettus-Davis et al., 2019; Western et al., 2015). The phrase Post-Conviction Traumatic Stress (PCTS) was recently introduced to capture the constellation of cognitive-emotional and physiological symptoms of trauma resulting from contact with the criminal justice system (CJS) (Harris & Levenson, 2020; Levenson & Harris, 2023). Harris and Levenson (2020; 2023) applied theories related to strain (Ackerman & Sacks, 2012; Agnew, 1992), labelling (Maruna et al., 2004), and human needs (Maslow, 1943) to conceptualize the circumstances that contribute to PCTS and empirically validate the construct using the Post-Traumatic Stress Checklist for DSM-5 (Weathers et al., 2013).

This 3-hour workshop will first describe the construct of PCTS. Then, theory and research about traumatic stress related to CJS involvement will be further discussed. Application of the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for PTSD will be explored, as well as other conceptualizations such as Anticipatory Traumatic Stress after exposure to threatening events that defy assumptions about one’s safety and security (Hopwood et al., 2019); Chronic Traumatic Stress which captures the experiences of individuals impacted by traumagenic circumstances that are ongoing (Fondacaro & Mazulla, 2018); Post-Incarceration Syndrome (Liem & Kunst, 2013); Perpetration- Induced Distress (Steinmetz et al., 2019); Complex PTSD, which identifies behavioral, relational, and personality symptomatology (Maercker et al., 2022) and trauma-specific interventions during and after incarceration (Pettus-Davis et al., 2019). Common manifestations of the four clusters of PTSD symptoms–intrusion, avoidance, negative moods and cognitions, and hyperarousal (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) — in CJS-involved clients will be described. The link between trauma-induced dysregulation and dynamic risk will also be discussed. The second half of the workshop will focus on specific clinical strategies for reducing dysregulation and improving coping skills. Interventions recommended for PCTS will include:

1. Validation of traumatic stress & psycho-education about trauma,
2. Tools for identifying triggers,
3. Connecting past-present-future traumatic stress responses,
4. Mindfulness and other strategies to calm the body and stay present,
5. Cognitive interventions with imagery to reduce intrusive thoughts,
6. Addressing the meaning attached to trauma narratives,
7. Expressive arts,
8. Distraction methods,
9. Client self-care,
10. Resilience-building and Facilitating post-traumatic growth.

Meets Florida Requirements

64B4-7.0081 Requirements to be a Qualified Practitioner for Completing Risk Assessments and Treatment of Sexual Offenders.

(4) A qualified practitioner under this rule shall possess 40 hours of graduate coursework and/or post degree continuing education in all of the following core areas with a minimum of three (3) hours per area:

(i) Understanding the role of early trauma, the intergenerational cycle of abuse, other environmental, social, and neurobiological factors that contribute to the development of sexually abusive behaviors, and trauma-informed practices;

(k) Impact of sexually abusive behaviors on victims.

64B4-7.007 Requirement to Hold Oneself Out as Qualified to Practice Juvenile Sex Offender Therapy

 1. (f) Victim empathy and victimology;