Working With People: Gentle Teaching

Working With People: Gentle Teaching

Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health Authority (NeMCMHA)

Working With People: Gentle Teaching

Location:  NEMCMH 400 Johnson Street, Alpena, MI 49707


Date: April 16th, 2024                   9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

This 6 continuing education credit in-person workshop will introduce attendees to a Culture of Gentleness and will provide the basics of providing positive supports through the important role of the helping professional.  Foundational principles of developing and strengthening supportive relationships as a strategy to reduce challenges and build a foundation for growth and healing are explored. Emphasis is placed on elements that lead to others feeling safe and more valued, how one’s trauma history can influence behavior, planning proactively to reduce stress, and the value of supporting all involved.

Target audience: Social Workers/Direct Care staff/Case Managers/Behavioral Health Professionals

Content level: beginner

About the Instructor:

Janis Sahr is a licensed Special Education Teacher with an endorsement in Cognitive Impairments, K-8 teacher with emphasis in Language Arts and Social Studies.  She started her career working for the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services in the Child Protection unit.  Janis also worked privately for families in the Alpena area who needed care for their child with autism.  This led Janis to go back for her Master’s in Special Education.  Janis worked for the AMA ESD for 13 years as a RTI Specialist and Special Education Teacher for students ages 5-26 with Moderate and Severe Impairments. 

Janis has been working closely with Peggy Yaschasz who has 36 years of experience in the Behavioral Health System and was one of the first to implement Gentle Teaching at NEMCMH. Janis believes that by learning Gentle Teaching Techniques, all staff and community members will ensure individuals with disabilities will be as independent as they can be and live their best life as possible.

Who Should Attend:

This in-person workshop is designed for Behavioral Health staff at all levels of experience and licensure to explore or gain a better working knowledge of Gentle Teaching.

Learning Objectives:

After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  1. List 3 reasons building a circle of support is important
  2. Identify the 6 Elements of care giving
  3. List 3 strategies to decrease challenging behaviors
  4. Give 4 examples of observation techniques to determine if the 4 Pillars are in place
Course Outline

8:30am Coffee & registration

9:00am - 12:00pm and 1:00pm - 4:00pm Workshop (Lunch 12p-1p on own)

9:00am - 9:15am: Instructor Introduction/ice breaker

9:15am - 9:30am: The Central Purpose

9:30am - 9:45am: Our story/Michigan’s History

9:45am - 10:00am: Characteristics of a Caregiver

10:00am - 10:15am: Janet Before & After

10:15am - 10:30am: What is a Culture of Gentleness

10:30am - 10:45am: Break

10:45am - 11:15am: Pillars/4 Tools/Building the Circle/Positive Interactions activity

11:15am - 11:30am: Institution Video discussion

11:30am - 11:45am: Histories and Memories

11:45am - 12:00pm: Companion assignments


1:00pm -1:45pm: Worksheets/group activity

1:45pm - 2:15pm: Challenging behaviors/structure/transitions/contingencies

2:15pm - 2:30pm: Six Elements            

2:30pm - 2:45pm: Routine/Structure

2:45pm - 3:00pm: Break

3:00pm - 3:30pm: Dreams/Visions

3:30pm - 3:45pm: I learned, I wonder, I feel

3:45pm - 4:00pm: Commitments/evaluations/certificates


Registration & Info

There is no cost to NeMCMHA staff to attend this event and certificate will be available.

Register by Calling Genny Grimshaw at 989-358-7842 and if you have questions, require more information, or need special accommodations.

Space is limited. Cancellation notice is appreciated


Course Completion & CE Info

Course completion requirements: Social Workers must attend the entire course and complete a course evaluation to earn CE credit. Certificates of completion will be distributed at conclusion of course pending submission of completed course evaluation.


NeMCMHA, Provider #1767, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit.

NeMCMHA maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 05/19/2021 - 05/19/2025. Social Workers completing this course will receive 6 Social Work continuing education credits.