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The MN ADOPT Education Program offers two training series, Beyond Consequences with Brenda Benning and Reactive Attachment Disorder: Learning Behaviors Series (RAD LABS) with Krista Nelson and Deena McMahon. Below you can learn more about the workshops, presenters, and testimonials from people who have attended these workshops.

security 856168 264x300 - Beyond Consequences & RAD LABS Workshops

Beyond Consequences Workshops & Support

Join adoptive mother and skilled trainer, Brenda Benning, as she offers new perspectives into your child’s behaviors, while offering real life techniques that can help regulate these same behaviors. This is a specialized training for families who are or may be parenting children with traumatic histories and/or attachment issues. This series follows the model and book by Heather T. Forbes, “Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control.” Parents and caregivers will have the opportunity to safely share their own experiences and build a support system with other families who are living with the same unique experiences often found in adoptive, foster, and kinship families. Cost of the series includes the book, “Beyond Consequences, Logic & Control” by Heather T. Forbes (One book per couple). Books will be mailed prior to training (Additional books will be given for walk-ins).

Registration is closed to walk-ins after Session 2.

Brenda Benning, MSW, LICSW received her Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota and has trained with Heather Forbes, founder of the Beyond Consequences Inc., on multiple occasions. She is currently counseling families individually in home and in group settings. Her primary focus is adoptive families with children healing from trauma histories and attachment issues. Brenda and her husband are parenting ten children, nine through adoption; multiple with diagnosed trauma histories and attachment issues. By using techniques from both Beyond Consequences and her own book “Restoring the Hope, Empathy and Love in Adoptive Families”, she has been able to assist families and her own children in their healing journey.


“The trainings and support that I have received through Beyond Consequence’s have helped me more than anything else to navigate the complex influences that have affected my children and make some sense of it all. I have changed how I parent as my understanding has grown. I love my kids in a whole new way, and we have changed our behavior and our interactions, and our outlook in life-giving ways. What a blessing for all of us!”
–Adoptive parent, attendee of the Beyond Consequences Training Series


 “I am able to stay calmer. Brenda [Beyond Consequences training series trainer] helped me realized I need to stay regulated so that I can help my children stay calm and form relationships with them. It helps to know that Brenda knows and lives and practices what she is teaching.” “I have learned to be more loving and patient with my child. I loved the way Brenda made me rethink trauma and children. I also appreciated getting to know the other parents in the group. Made me feel like I wasn’t alone.”
–Adoptive parent, attendee of the Beyond Consequences Training Series


“These classes really helped me to understand some of what my niece was experiencing.  It was like a whole different world opened up to me and some things made more sense.  I don’t know that I necessarily changed my parenting style but it certainly helped me to understand how to handle some situations better.  I’m very glad these classes were offered and it was also nice to find out that I am not alone in dealing with a child such as my niece.  There are other parents as well that you can connect with and draw support from if you so choose.”
–Kinship Adoptive parent, attendee of the Beyond Consequences Training Series

(Reactive Attachment Disorder Learning Alternative Behavioral Strategies)

Join Deena McMahon and Krista Nelson during this 2-day LAB Series (Learning Alternative Behavioral Strategies). This training is specifically designed to address the support and education needs of those parenting children with significant impairments and/or trauma issues with an emphasis on good self-care and humor! This training explores the unique experiences going on in your home and implements role play scenarios and class participation. Over the course of the 2-day session, the following themes will be discussed:

  • From Hell to Not So Bad…Some Days!
  • Rethinking RAD: A Developmental Perspective
  • The Mosaic: Attachment Plus Fetal Alcohol Spectrum
  • The Behavior: Understanding, Response and Effective
  • Pulling It All Together and Moving Forward
Deena Mcmahon

Deena Mcmahon

Deena McMahon, MSW, LICSW is a family therapist with over 30 years’ experience. She has developed a national reputation for excellence in areas ranging from attachment therapy and adoption dynamics to childhood sexual abuse and trauma.

In addition to her therapy caseload, Ms. McMahon provides forensic assessments and frequently serves as an expert witness in court proceedings regarding permanency placements, child custody, and other issues.  She is a faculty consultant for the Minnesota Guardian ad Litem Program, as well as an adviser to numerous child protection agencies, adoption organizations, and parent support groups.

Ms. McMahon presents national and regional trainings on a variety of mental health topics to a wide range of parents and professionals including state judges, social services, educators, foster care providers, and mental health workers. Several of Ms. McMahon’s trainings have been adopted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services as best practice protocol; she also developed a children’s mental health curriculum which is required across Minnesota for foster care licensing CEU.  Additionally, Ms. McMahon authored the Child Development section for Minnesota’s District Court Bench Book, the document judges rely on for best practice.


Krista Nelson

Krista Nelson

Krista Nelson, LICSW, LMFT has provided attachment and trauma training to child welfare agencies, mental health professionals and parents of children and youth with complex trauma histories since 2001.  Krista has thirty years of post-masters experience working with children and parents who are coping with abuse, trauma and family changes, especially with youth who entered a family through adoption.  She is co-founder of Family Circle Counseling in St. Paul, MN and led the Wilder Foundation’s Attachment and Trauma Training program from 2001 to 2017.  Krista also teaches classes on trauma and child therapy within the University of St. Thomas/Catherine Graduate School of Social Work.

“I went to the RAD Sessions this past weekend and I am so grateful for meeting these instructors. I would have sworn they had my daughter’s folder and was teaching based on that… Thank you so much and would love to attend more trainings if possible. My therapist has been telling me how important it is to take care of yourself. She also told us how important it was for human touch, and this training met all of those expectations. I feel like I took a lot from the RAD LABS this past weekend. Thank you.”
–Adoptive parent, attendee of the RAD LABS series with Deena McMahon and Krista Nelson

 “I am so grateful I heard about this training and to have met other parents who are experiencing the same problems. I have learned to be a more mindful parents and I now know how to recognize what symptoms are associated with RAD.”
–Adoptive parent, attendee of the RAD LABS series

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