November 29, 2016

From Mandy Davis, LCSW, PhD, Co-Director, Trauma Informed Oregon

Acknowledging This Experience

I want to take a moment to acknowledge the recent presidential election and the varied impact it has on individuals, families, organizations, and communities. There are many skilled writers and commentators who are sharing thoughts and unpacking the impact and implication of this process (check out guest blogger Claire Ranit’s blog post on the election); I am trying to soak up information from a variety of sources. My intention here is to acknowledge this experience, connect it to our work, and share resources.

This process has reinforced, surfaced, or ignited a range of feelings across our state. Many are asking how to listen better, how to sort out accurate information, how to be safe, and how to have conversations about differences. Many of you (maybe as a result of your trauma informed care (TIC) work) have well practiced strategies for these questions and I hope you will continue to share this wisdom. Check out this excellent blog post from guest blogger Denise Torres of the Center for Compassionate Living and share your thoughts in the comments. TIC is about providing services in a way where people can feel safe, empowered, and worthy. It asks us to be knowledgeable about the impact of trauma and toxic stress on our ability to engage with each other and services. It expands our definition of trauma and toxic stress to include experiences such as systemic oppression and bullying. There are many people feeling fear and anxiety right now and applying trauma informed principles will help us find strategies in our homes, organizations, and communities to address and ameliorate these experiences.  Some examples I have heard about in Oregon include making visible statements about safety, providing training on free speech, hosting listening sessions based on a range of identities (e.g., republican, democrat, LGBTQ, and/or youth), and learning techniques to have discourse.


We have put together a few resources you may find helpful. If you have other resources or experiences to share please email me at

The American Academy of Pediatrics has provided advice on how to speak to children and families about the results of the recent election. They also provide the following tools and resources:

Doernbecher Children’s Hospital provides Tips on Supporting One Another. They recognize how difficult it can be to reassure our children at this time.

From the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching comes Guidelines for Discussing Difficult or Controversial Topics. These tips suggest ways to navigate difficult or controversial topics by defining boundaries and discussing expectations.