square bulletConnecting and Relating

From , LCSW, PhD, Director, Trauma Informed Oregon

It is 2022! Our newsletter theme – connecting and relating – was inspired by the survey TIO sent out in the Fall asking for your ideas for evolving trauma informed practices and how TIO could support your work. Three themes emerged in your responses: culturally specific and linguistically relevant practices; ways to measure the impact of trauma informed practices; and opportunities to connect and learn from one another.

While reviewing these survey results, I was also getting calls about the significant stress experienced by healthcare, education, and behavioral health providers. So, we decided to focus this newsletter on connecting and reconnecting: knowing that relationships offer effective buffers to stress. Trauma informed care is as much about how we do the work as what we do.

Acknowledging Colleagues in the Helping Professions

Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge my colleagues in the helping professions. I want you to know you are not alone and you have been holding a lot for a long time. Workforce shortages, staff transitions, and a new variant… A shout out to case managers, therapists, prescribers, teachers, classroom supports, nurses, certified nursing assistants, respiratory therapists, flight attendants, and so many more who daily attend to the fears, worries, sorrow, and hopes of our communities. A shout out to the supervisors and leaders who are trying to support staff and manage bureaucracy.

Betrayal trauma is a theme that is coming up often as I listen to providers. Many held on to the hope that things would change based on what we have learned over the last few years but instead many systems added more stress (e.g., new practices, new curriculum, new technologies, etc.).

Creating Opportunities for Connection at the Organizational Level

Telling a workforce that feels they are barely hanging on to focus on relationships is not helpful. Instead, I want to consider ways an organization or community can offer opportunities for connection and relationship, so the burden is not on an individual. I also want these opportunities to reflect TIC principles by being predictable, consistent, welcoming, and representative. TIO is going to focus on ways we can support relationships by providing multiple methods for you to connect with us and with each other, and we hope one or more of these opportunities will be nourishing. PLEASE read Ana’s blog about this new year’s endeavor we are calling Nourishing the Networks.

We cannot “relate” or “connect” our way out of the workforce challenges we are facing. As with most things, we need multiple strategies – this is but one and we hope it offers a bit of validation, decreases isolation, sparks ideas and partnerships, and strengthens our advocacy efforts.

TIO has taken the last few months to listen to what you want and need, and in response we will be focusing in the next year on:

  • Gathering and connecting via Nourishing the Networks
  • Meaningful practices and approaches that intersect diversity, equity, inclusion and TIC
  • Deeper learning opportunities to focus on skills and the embodiment of TIC, and
  • Documenting TIC efforts through the 4 Essential Elements of Implementing TIC.

I am so grateful to be on this journey with all of you and hold a deep belief that it is our collective work and compassion that will be needed to evolve and re-design in a way that is sustainable and healing focused for those in need and our workforce.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

― Desmond Tutu

Keep Your Eyes Out:
The next four newsletters will be focused on the Essential Elements.

To Do: