Trainings for Correctional Staff
(Institutional & Community-based)

Dr. William Winogron Psychologist

Psychologist, Author, Trainer

Surviving Correctional Work Icon


A 1-2 day skills training workshop to prevent burnout & enhance the experience of correctional work

Copyright © 2017 Dr. William Winogron. All Rights Reserved.

This is the proposed content for a correctional staff workshop that has been successfully implemented in various settings; it can be modified according to the needs of a site/facility.

The workshop can be delivered in a single day, or, ideally, over a two day period that allows time for trainee participation in interactive exercises and skill development.

The material is shared here for informational exchange only and cannot be reproduced, implemented, trained or incorporated into other trainings without the written consent of Dr. William Winogron

The training is facilitated by Dr. Winogron, a highly experienced Registered Psychologist with two decades of experience in authoring, teaching, and facilitating correctional programs for staff and management at all levels of seniority. His biography is appended to this outline.

Surviving Correctional Work Workshop
  1. Job-related factors that contribute to distress/burn out in correctional work

In this section, participants learn what the data say about burnout in correctional work, and what can be done about job-related factors – besides complaining about management and institutional rules

  • correctional employees burnout levels are much higher than the general public—even police officers
  • about one third of COs experience job stress and burnout
  • burnout/work strain is more linked to work environment factors than personal characteristics. (This is not an excuse to feel powerless and hopeless, but rather to ask what individual staff can do to affect perceived job characteristics; this is addressed below)
    • role ambiguity
    • role conflict
    • lack of decision-making power
  • most of the challenges that correctional workers face are NOT predictive of burnout
    • stressors intrinsic to the job/role within the organization/rewards or lack thereof/supervisory support
  • some of the characteristics of ‘where we work’, and the ‘demands of the jobs we do’ are beyond individual control; are these factors the problem? Or can we improve our work lives despite them?

2. A X B = C

  • The world’s most strongly held misconception

In this section participants learn the basics about the ABC model of RE&CBT (rational-emotive and cognitive behavioral theory), supported by 60 years of empirical research, which teaches:

  • A’s (activating events or inferences about them) do not cause disturbed emotional/behavioral consequences (C’s); rather, A’s plus counterproductive B’s do
  • it is important to differentiate healthy distress from unhealthy disturbance
    • healthy distress is caused by negative events and the strength of rational beliefs
    • unhealthy disturbances are caused by negative events plus irrational beliefs
  • rigid beliefs lie at the core of psychological disturbance/emotional suffering
    • awfulizing beliefs/low frustration tolerance beliefs/depreciation beliefs
  • flexible beliefs lies at the core of psychological health
    • non-dogmatic anti-awfulizing beliefs/negated unbearability/acceptance beliefs
  • D (disputation) is the process of converting counterproductive/harmful B’s to productive/healthy B’s
The A.B,C's of Surviving Correctional Work

3. Desirable characteristics of healthy intervention, and how to achieve them

In this section participants learn to use the ABC model plus rational philosophy to identify and start working at the (sometimes counterintuitive) traits/attitudes that maximize their correctional effectiveness and minimize their distress

  • HFT — High frustration tolerance
  • recognition of the limits of our tools
    • punishment/reinforcement/persuasion/therapy
  • recognition of the probability of success in the change professions
    • change is hard
    • love/care/respect/hope/warmth are neither necessary nor sufficient
  • routine distinction between (controllable) treatment/intervention methods and (uncontrollable) treatment/intervention outcomes
  • ability to identify and dispute counterproductive beliefs of intervenors
    • I must be successful with practically all my clients/offenders and help them quickly
    • clients and bosses/superiors must not be too hard and stand in the way of my counseling/duties
    • conditions of counseling/supervision must not be too hard or this profession is too awful and I’d better flee or quit
    • if I’m not succeeding or the job is not doable, then I’m ineffective and a failure
  • Team work – sample case to be solved and presented

4. Can the job-related factors be overcome through use of the ABC model and the healthy intervention strategies presented in this workshop?

  • Interactive exercises (group and/or solo formats)
  • Debriefing
  • Take-away strategies
    • individual
    • teams/small groups

5. One-to-one consults with trainer re: implementation of the ABC tools; translation to real-world usage of the new learning

6. End

“Working in corrections can be overwhelming – reduce the burden – and prevent staff burnout and staff turnover… with proven practices”.

Dr. Winogron Biography

Dr. Bill Winogron is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years’ experience in assessing and treating psychological disorders in a variety of clinical settings. His involvement with correctional work began with front-line clinical work in community corrections, and went on to include program creation, training, custom curriculum development, and training of trainers. By theoretical orientation, Bill is a practitioner of cognitive behavioural therapies (CBTs), particularly Rational-Emotive Behaviour Therapy, the original short-term CBT. He holds an Associate Fellowship at the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City, where he was trained and supervised by Dr. Albert Ellis (‘the grandfather of CBT’) personally.

In addition to being a seasoned clinician and training facilitator, Bill has authored internationally- successful, evidence-based treatment programs (Anger and Emotions Management Program; CALM – Controlling Anger and Learning to Manage it; CALMER – the CALM Effective Relapse Prevention program; etc.) , and has trained, mentored and supervised students, graduate students and correctional staff for much of his career. He is an Approved Clinical Supervisor (Albert Ellis Institute) and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Yorkville University. Additionally, Winogron has authored and facilitated training programs for organizations in Canada, the US, and the UK, both “classroom” and online, on a range of mental health topics.

For More Information

Please contact Dr. Winogron at his new location:
1559 Alta Vista Drive
P.O. Box 59030
Ottawa, ON., K1G 5T7
Phone: +1 (613) 978-1054 | Fax: +1 (833) 939-3549