August 22, 2015

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

I truly believe that understanding the impact of trauma, especially identifying and remedying the systemic perpetuation of it by incorporating the simple yet fundamental changes of being trauma informed is essential to advancing social justice on a macro level and ensuring personal health and opportunity for all individuals. – Kate Blazer, MSW Student

An important part of advancing trauma informed practices is getting this information into professional education programs. We know many of you are infusing this knowledge into college courses and throughout training programs and we look forward to hearing about this. Trauma Informed Oregon has committed to teaching three abuse and trauma courses to graduate social work students at Portland State University. Two of these classes are on the Portland Campus and one is in Bend, to be delivered through the distance education program.

I just finished up the first course with an amazing group of 22 students. Through readings, lectures, discussions and guest speakers students learned about Trauma Informed Care, intergenerational trauma and oppression, the neurobiology of trauma, peer support services, and interventions on both micro and macro levels. It is hopeful (and keeps me on my toes) to work with these students as they are developing their practice skills. I am excited for how they will continue to apply the principles of trauma informed care to support families, organizations and systems (and how they will shape future courses).

“Everyone experiences some sort of trauma in their lifetime… TIC does not identify a traumatic experience as large or small, but rather an individual’s own unconscious response caused by the brain and body. TIC works with the individual to feel safe, empowered, and increase their self-worth.” – Yesenia Carmolinga, MSW Student

Their assignments this term included conducting an self-care assessment, developing a table that redefined challenging behaviors through a trauma lens, conducting an environmental scan and creating e-posters on topics relevant to Trauma Informed Care. Environmental scans were completed at hospitals, justice centers, detention centers, laundromats, and non-profits agencies. Students identified both trauma informed practices as well as recommendations for enhancing efforts such as the need for signage in multiple languages, minimizing distracting noises, adding plants, and access to basic needs such as water and food.

I was impressed with all the work students completed and I hope to share this throughout the year. Since school is about to start I wanted to share an e-poster put together by Kate Blazer titled: Prevention & Intervention Techniques for Reducing Disobedience & Disruption – A Trauma Informed Approach.

“Becoming “trauma informed” seems not to be a destination but an ongoing process of education, reflection, and adjusting the practice path by utilizing research as well as experience.”  – Consuelo “Chelo” Icovino, MSW Student