March 3, 2021

From Ana Hristić, MA, LCSW, Director of Education & Workforce Strategies, Trauma Informed Oregon

As I seek to answer the question: What is the principle of Collaboration and Mutuality an antidote to, in the context of training for TIC? four distinct areas of consideration arise for me.

The principle of Collaboration and Mutuality is an antidote to:

Centering only one story

Without collaboration in curricula development and facilitation itself, we run the risk of telling only one story. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reminds us, the danger of a single story is significant, as a single story leaves out the presence and possibility of considering the whole person, of accounting for multiple stories. As we consider trauma and healing, the danger of a single story is one that perpetuates suffering and oppression, ignoring complexity and nuance. To that end, collaboration with lived experience, for example, is one key element to creating robust TIC training curricula.

Ignoring adult learning theory

Without collaboration and mutuality, the training itself may not be effective or suitable for adult learning. In my experience providing trainings, and supported by what we know about adult learning theory, adults learn through integration of content into their own lives. Adults come with a breadth of experience, knowledge and past understandings, and perpetuating artificial boundaries of teacher and student loses the extent of learning and integration that’s possible and necessary for adult learners. Decentering the facilitator and instead creating a mutually learning and supportive environment, is important when training for TIC.

Avoiding interdisciplinary efforts

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that the way forward in life – let alone in training for TIC – is through interdisciplinary pollination of resource and knowledge. Though we don’t all need to do everything, we do need to keep abreast of and get creative with peers and colleagues across systems. To consider TIC, for example, without considering climate change or economic justice, is to lose sight of potential layers of understanding and healing. Just as those we serve do not live in isolation, so too our education efforts in TIC should not be free of efforts toward collaboration across disciplines and ways of knowing.

Healing & learning as transactional & unidirectional

Finally, without collaboration and mutuality, both curricula development and delivery can be experienced as transactional rather than relational. As facilitator – and certainly as participant – there is a big difference between administering a training from a head space, than a heart space; from a space of statistics and sterile theoretical trends, than a space of story of lived experience; from a space of efficiency and agenda, than a space of process and tangent. I would suggest that there is a rich possibility for a deeply impactful collaborative process to occur, when facilitation of training for TIC is mutually stimulating, such that the facilitator experiences growth as much as the participants. I know that is certainly true for me.