Key Elements in Achilles

Outline of Key Elements in Achilles Training

Achillies Initiative
The main Achilles Initiative training is an intensive three-day course conducted on client organisation premises or other suitable training facilities. This training however is embedded in a longer bespoke process of consultation and organisational development, an example of which is given below:

Sample Timeline

  • 3 months prior to training – consultation with partner organisation
  • this may result in new structures or procedures being put in place, local “champions” identified and research into existing norms within the organisation in order to adapt training
  • 1 month prior – pre-course questionnaires and participants assessment. Bespoke training design
  • 3 day (20 hour) training
  • 6 months mission – staff in field applying training, Achilles staff continue to support organisation applying resilience related protocols (e.g. watchful waiting)
  • within two weeks of returning – 1 day refresher and feedback session
– A one-day version of Achilles is also available

Key Elements of Achilles
The Achilles initiative is unique in that in takes a fully integral approach, combining the best evidence based techniques currently available to build resilience. These are always adapted to the unique conditions in partner organisations and include the following key elements:

  • Psychoeducation
  • Physical (sensory-motor) state management and defusing skills
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Communication skills training
  • Mindfulness
  • Organisational structures and procedures
  • Cultural change and psycho-social approaches

The training is highly interactive (trainers never talk for more than 20 minutes at a time) and stresses organisational relevance and real-world application. A large part of the course concerns practice, embedding skills and graded exposure to controlled stimuli applying skills to build resilience. The trainings are suitable for participants of various learning styles (e.g. those who may not normally enjoy classroom based learning) and have high staff ratios, including in every instance a staff member with relevant personal experience who participants can relate to and a qualified psychotherapist.

Development and Advisory Board

Margaret Bridges – Ex staff welfare manager SE Coast Ambulance Service
Caroline Jaine – Former diplomat, specialism in communications and conflict environments, trainer and advisor. TRIM trained, Iraq experience
Barbara Goodfellow – ASSIST Trauma care
Roger Mills – Trauma psychologist, EMDR, counsellor, CBT, depth psychology
Professor Sally Munt – Sussex University, researching trauma, CBT, refugees and culture
Clare Myatt – Therapist, trauma specialist and somatic educator
Karen Sherlock – NGO consultant and psycho-social researcher (Bristol University)
Marleen van Klingeren – Researcher in psychological care for NGO staff, civil-military cooperation, Afghanistan and Liberia experience (Netherlands based)
Mark Walsh (Coordinator) – Stress management consultant, Bsc (hons) Psychology, NGO experience in conflict zones

(Others are involved worldwide including other academics, military advisors and therapists)