Partners in Duluth


  Sigurd Haller
  Master of Social Work
  Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
  Master of Arts in Geography
  Licensed Indep. Clinical Social Worker
  Woodland Hills
  Residental Treatment Center

Sigurd works at Woodland Hills Residental Treatment Center ( as a clinical therapist with juvenile justice adolescents, also known as at-risk children, and their families, for the past 12 years. Children in the juvenile justice system have been adjudicated of a crime, missed too much school also known as truancy, run away from home, or have violated their probation. Many of these children use illegal drugs and have mental health issues, such as, for example, post traumatic stress disorder or reactive attachment disorder. Sigurd is trained in and utilizes Trauma Focused – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in his work. Professional interests include exploring for best practices related to trauma and resilience in children and families. Trauma related to the witnessing of community violence, domestic violence, and refugee experiences. Also historical trauma within families passed from generation to generation, and how the children are impacted by this. Resilience is the ability of the child to adapt well to trauma, tragedy, or adversity.

The typical age of children male and female that Sigurd works with is 13-19 years old, and they are residents of Woodland Hills for generally 7-12 months. The children are from the State of Minnesota and are Caucasian, African American, Native American, Asian, Hispanic, or two or more mixed races. Many of the children have negatively-minded male role models, or zero male involvement in their lives. The children Sigurd provides therapy for have experienced violence and trauma in the form of being physically assaulted, been stabbed or shot, or have witnessed these things happening to others. Many children have witnessed family members or friends being killed. The childen and their families tend to be economically and socially oppressed, and even repressed at times due to their circumstances. Also, the children are significantly behind in their educational development. Children typically return to a dsyfunctional family or chaotic community environment when they leave Woodland Hills, or sometimes both, and they must use their learned coping skills to avoid reverting to their antisocial or self-destructive behaviors. Outside of work, Sigurd enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, and generally being outdoors.

What Sigurd would like to learn from our Peer to Peer colleagues:
Sigurd would like to learn new and innovative ways in working with at-risk children and families, particularly with teaching families to communicate productively among each member. Sigurd would also like to learn ways of healing the dysfunction in children and families caused by trauma. Could we jointly propose new methods of early intervention for at-risk children and dysfunctional families in Petrozavodsk, that would also work in Duluth?
Sigurd would like to learn about children and how they are assisted at children's homes in Petrozavodsk or with foster families—or with their transition back to birth parent or parents, or to a new home, from an institutional setting. What happens to neglected children, those exposed to negative and harmful behavior by parents or adults, or children in the criminal environment, and how do they cope with the trauma memories and moving on with their lives? What happens to childen in the criminal system in Petrozavodsk—do they recieve education, mental health treatment, or jail? Do social workers practice psychotherapy with children in Petrozavodsk, and if so, how is it accessed by families and children and what types of theraputic interventions are used by the therapist? What types of trauma do children experience in Petrozavodsk?
How are programs for children and families managed in Petrozavodsk if there are scarce funding resources? Do organizations or individuals apply for monetary grants, ask for monetary donations, and seek volunteers? How do social workers and psychotherapists in Petrozavodsk take care of their own well-being (self-care) and mental health when working with at-risk children and trauma? What types of best practices do therapists in Petrozavodsk utilize to instill hope and postive change in children? Do children return to homes where the family remains dysfunctional, and if so, what are the interventions utilized and the outcomes? How do social workers in Petrozavodsk disrupt the cycle of dysfunctionality with familes? What are the barriers, such as social stereotypes, if any, in Petrozavodsk, and how are they overcome for dysfunctional families and at-risk children? How do social workers in Petrozavodsk best enagage dysfunctional families who are unable or unwilling to work on the problems related to parenthood and raising children?