This is the second in a series on using healthy staff relationships to increase workplace satisfaction and decrease staff turnover.

Making It Real!, the on-line course for child-serving teams, offers you many more tools to improve staff relationships. Check it out here.

What Makes a Positive Team in a Trauma-Informed Treatment Program?

We know that positive teams are one of the most significant factors that result in people staying in jobs. Our jobs are difficult and they don’t pay well. Wen you ask employees what they like about their work, they usually mention “my co-workers” second only to helping the clients. Conversely, a split team with factions and no support is the surest way to increase turnover.

So what are the characteristics of a great team?

The structure supports a thoughtful, compassionate approach to providing care.

Every staff member has some time to reflect, talk, learn and plan away from direct care while working.
Every staff member receives regular supervision.
All full-time direct care staff know each client’s history, treatment goals, and discharge goal.
All treaters working with the same client have time to communicate with each other.

Treatment is based on clinical thinking
The team discusses why a client is doing a harmful behavior, what problem is it solving for them, before we decide how to respond to it.
The Team uses a common trauma-informed language to discuss the clients and avoids labeling and blaming them.

(Congregate care)
Staff are encouraged to form strong relationships with the clients while maintaining clear boundaries, and discuss boundary dilemmas with their teams.
Staff have time and permission to spend time with individual clients or with clients in small groups.

(Community and outpatient)
Staff form strong relationships with clients while maintaining clear boundaries, and discuss boundary dilemmas with their teams
Staff have time to connect with supervisor and team and discuss their cases

Boundaries are clear and open; boundary questions are discussed with the team
Most aspects of the client’s treatment are shared with the team.

Relationships are healthy and honored
We handle conflict directly and respectfully.
We tag each other out when someone gets caught in a power struggle.
We share with each other how the work is affecting us and how we are feeling towards individual clients.
We value our relationships with each other and we create activities to enhance them.
We share humor.
When there is a problem in the program or a decision to be made staff of all disciplines get together to discuss it and decide.
We can ask each other for help.
We do fun activities together.
We celebrate milestones and excellent work

(Where applicable) We have safety procedures so that our team knows where we are at all times.
We have time and mechanisms to share information and resources with each other.
We have a way to share successes and praise with each other.
Administration is supportive and appreciative.

So how much, or how little, does this describe your team?

Click here to get a checklist of these and other factors. Share it with your team- have each person complete it individually and then discuss the results. And write about your experience in the comments.


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