Woman and boy laughingHere are some tips for beginning the transformation to trauma informed care:

  1. Every time you talk about something a child has done, have someone review the child’s history.
  2. Any time some one wants to know what punishment you should apply to a given action, ask: how do we understand why he did that?
  3. Clinicians- think of a treatment theme for each child you are working with, a brief statement of the central focus of your work, such as “learning to trust adults” or “learning to handle disappointment without making things worse” or “learning to recognize emotions”. Communicate this to the team.
  4. Develop an individual crisis management plan with each child, noting what tends to upset them, how they show they are starting to get upset, what helps, what doesn’t help. Make these living documents, available to the whole team, used by all, and constantly revised.
  5. Discuss with both staff and kids what about your program makes them feel safe, what about the program makes them feel unsafe. What can you improve?
  6. Start some Youth Leadership activities- a student council, a unit group to decide unit activities, youth-to-youth mentoring, older kids teaching younger, etc.
  7. Use sensory interventions, such as rocking chairs, weighted garments, blankets and fur, soft music, aroma therapy
  8. Add yoga and meditation to your offerings
  9. Institute a program where the kids engage in some social action to help others, such as collecting food for a food bank, or volunteering at a Senior Center.
  10. Start a discussion among staff about how people are feeling about the job and how the work is affecting them.
  11. Buy night lights for all kids who want them.
  12. Have a staff retreat including all disciplines during which you have fun and do team building activities.

Do you see the connection between each of these ideas and healing from trauma? If not, let me know and I will write more about it.

If you would like an infographic that summarizes all these ideas, click below:

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Are there any steps you have taken to begin trauma informed care? Add them to comments below.

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