Training for Professionals

Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker

I’m a licensed psychologist specializing in adoption, trauma, and racial identity development, and I have a literal lifetime of experience with adoptionas an international and transracial adoptee from India, adoptive parent to a child from Ethiopia, and professional who has worked in the adoption community since 2002.

Are you looking for a professional to train your team on any of the following topics? You’ve come to the right place!

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The seven core issues in adoption are often perceived as barriers to an adoptee’s ability to be healthy and successful. But what if we viewed these issues – loss, rejection, guilt/shame, grief, identity, intimacy, and control – on a spectrum that ranges from struggle to strength? Join Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker as she guides you into the extraordinary and often overlooked world of adoptee strengths and superpowers. Learn to support your adoptee clients’ natural tendencies, embrace their unique methods for problem-solving and navigating relationships, and empower them to feel proud of the remarkable ways in which they contribute to the world.
Join Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker for an insightful and enlightening discussion addressing the complex dynamics of transracial adoption. Through the lens of the seven core issues in adoption combined with her groundbreaking model of the racial and cultural identity needs of transracial adoptees, she will provide compassionate and comprehensive support to professionals who work with transracially adoptive families. Grow your awareness of the internal and external experiences of adoptees of color as they strive to build a positive racial and cultural identity, enhance your understanding of the role race plays in parent-child attachment patterns, learn to discuss race and racism using developmentally appropriate language, identify strategies to guide adoptive caregivers’ understanding of their own racial biases, and build the confidence to bring race into the room in a manner that promotes safety, empowerment, and connection.
In this training tailored for educators, we'll discuss how to create a learning environment that provides safety and support for adoptees and foster children. By delving into crucial areas such as understanding brain development and trauma reactions, using adoption-informed language, protecting privacy, and engaging in family and genetic assignments with sensitivity, educators will develop tools that cultivate a culture of inclusivity where students can learn, thrive, and embrace their full potential.
The behaviors of children who have experienced trauma can be baffling to the adults around them, and it can be easy to forget that these behaviors may feel just as baffling to the children themselves. While all behaviors are rooted in trying to meet a need, those that arise from implicit memories may feel harder to identify and navigate, because they aren’t accompanied by a clear narrative of the traumatic events that occurred. This presentation will offer insight into how implicit memories develop and help to demystify behaviors that are caused by common trauma reactions. The “6 F’s” (Fight, Flight, Freeze, Friend, Fidget, and Flop) will be explained, as well as tools for supporting the de-escalation of behavioral reactions resulting from trauma.
The ability to provide effective, compassionate, and competent support to communities of color depends upon our understanding of the ways we carry racial bias into our professional interactions – but as helping professionals, many of us were never trained to explore our biases, so we may struggle to support our clients of color in the ways we intend. This training will offer the opportunity to deepen your understanding of racial bias concepts by exploring systems of racial oppression, naming the roles we as professionals play in those oppressive systems, identifying how covert forms of racism impact our clients of color, and considering how we can shift our actions to reduce the impact of racial trauma.
Race. Gender. Sexual orientation. Neurodiversity. Body Size. Socioeconomic status. Religion. AND SO MUCH MORE! How can we talk about the "tough stuff" with our clients, when so many of us are still trying to figure out how to navigate those conversations within the workspace? Join Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker as she guides you through the process of engaging your clients in intersectionally inclusive conversations to promote honesty, compassion, and safety. From naming intersectional identities and honoring our clients’ identities, to engaging in self-exploration of our biases and preventing communication blocks, we'll talk through the framework of these conversations together so that you can feel more comfortable and confident engaging in conversations with your clients in purposefully inclusive ways.
Navigating the complexities of biological relationships can be a sensitive and challenging process for many adoptees. Adoptees may seek out connections with their first family members for a variety of reasons, and as adoption professionals, it is crucial to provide a safe and supportive space for the exploration of these relationships. Factors such as assessing safety, developing realistic expectations, gauging emotional preparedness, setting boundaries, planning contact, respecting privacy, and building open and honest communication will be discussed.
Maintaining the racial and cultural identity of adoptees of color in transracial placements is crucial to supporting their lifelong mental health, but it can be difficult to determine how those needs will be met by caregivers who do not share their background. Learn a framework for understanding and defining the best ways to assess prospective caregiver readiness to parent transracially in a manner that communicates and centers the needs of transracial adoptees of color.
I'll collaborate with you to create a customized training for your staff!

Upcoming Speaking and Training Engagements

Feedback from My Training Sessions

“Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker is a phenomenal trainer.  I’m very selective about who I invite to speak to my people, and partnering with Dr. Wirta-Leiker is a no-brainer.  She doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff, yet brings curiosity and compassion to topics that might otherwise trigger shame or defensiveness.  She’s a fierce advocate for elevating the adoptee experience and a top-notch clinician, educator, and trainer.”

“Dr. Wirta-Leiker's concise, comprehensive workshop provided participants with solid, well-researched information on this critical topic. She covered more ground in two hours than many presenters do in a half-day. Her charismatic presentation was both lively and compelling; a real call to action in the ongoing fight to quell racism and support diversity in both our work and personal lives.”
—JOHN DANDURAND, Executive Director, Human Services Network of Colorado

“I highly recommend any trainings done by Dr. Wirta-Leiker.  She brings an amazing combination of education and knowledge along with professional and personal lived experience to every training she leads.  She presents in a manner that acknowledges the difficulty of some of the conversations she is training on while also challenging participants to lean in and learn.  I have nothing but praise and respect for Dr. Wirta-Leiker’s trainings and always leave them with more awareness, more knowledge, and a deeper understanding of the subject.”
—TAMI DAVIDSON, Hope's Promise

The following feedback is from attendees of trainings on the topics shared above.

"I usually feel like professional trainings could dive deeper into the presentation topic, but for this training I was blown away by the depth of the content. I was taking notes the entire time. I thought this was the most valuable training I've ever attended. Much gratitude to the presenter."

“The practical tips for using with clients in session was incredibly helpful.  The different graphics and analogies were really helpful in finding ways to explain things to kids of different ages and to parents in different stages of their understanding.  This was a fantastic course!”

"I have spent so much time looking for research articles which address the experience of transracially adopted children. The material I find is often lacking. Thank you so much for teaching a course on information I have been desperate to find for years. I would be happy to attend a multi-day course taught by this speaker.”

“I like the practical applications that were provided that I can immediately adopt into my work with clients. I also appreciated the discussion of micro-aggressions, the need to monitor one's own biases and how they can creep into sessions, and the importance of acknowledging mistakes and focusing on impact rather than intent.”

“New insights into the experience of transracial adoptees and how to be supportive. As a white MSW student, I also felt this was incredibly helpful information on how I can be more supportive with all youth of color. This is so important, and I've never had training like this. I wish Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker could do a guest lecture or teach a course at my college.”

"The presenter had a wonderful way of making research-based/clinical ideas into understandable content. This was probably the best training I have attended on discipline that felt productive (not just a very basic 101) while still digestible and able to applied on a day-to-day basis. The real-life little examples throughout the presentation were also very helpful." — Foster parent