This is the first of a series of short blog posts that will be shared over the coming weeks that help us to reflect and think about trauma informed ways of being that sit behind the practice. This is to support us in thinking more deeply beyond the buzz word and the tick box that there is a risk that trauma informed practice (TIP) will become if we don’t work on having humility, being grounded and staying focused.
In order to set the scene in thinking about TIP, the 6 guiding trauma informed principles developed by the CDC and SAMSHA are:
Trustworthiness & transparency
Collaboration & mutuality
Empowerment & choice
Cultural, historical & gender issues
As the principles make clear, this is deep and extensive work that involves sensitivity, action and requires leaning into curiosity and love. When I’m asked if I can provide certificates, do a twilight or am told “oh we’ve done trauma,” I take a deep breath and talk about moving from a place of knowing to a place of being; how do we ‘be‘ trauma informed? We can know something yet not embed it into the way we think, feel, speak, hold our bodies and conduct our work. This level of shifting into a way of being takes time. It’s not a tick box process and it involves going within deeply and I may as well let you know now, but it never stops.
It is in everything we say, everything we do, the spaces we do ‘it’ in and the processes that sit behind why we do what we do. It is a commitment to understanding the legacy of trauma.
So the #1 ‘way of being’ I’m going to ask us to think about is going to be: sitting in a place of love and curiosity, not fear and judgement.
What does this look like?
Fear and judgment looks like:
5. Fear of competition
Love and curiosity looks like:
1. Collaboration – working together
2. Connection – being together wholeheartedly
3. Taking a step back and thinking about what sits underneath what is being presented to us
4. Supervision, checking in with peers
These are not exhaustive lists, rather they are support to stimulate thinking. Why not take one of these areas into your team meeting and discuss how it shows up in a policy, or a response to an incident, or in how you support each other.
*Before any discussion that explores these areas, focus on safety. We will look at creating safety in more detail another time, but if we don’t feel safe, we can’t explore these things deeply as they require vulnerability.
Next time I’ll look at another trauma informed way of being that supports us ‘leaning in’ on this journey of understanding how we can respond better to the legacy of trauma. We are always aiming rather than arriving!
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