August 8, 2019

From Ana Hristić, MA, LCSW, Training and Education Coordinator, Trauma Informed Oregon

In our Foundations of Trauma Informed Care (TIC) training, we spend a lot of time clarifying the difference between trauma specific service and trauma informed care. While TIC focuses on practices, procedures, and policies that reflect the organization’s knowledge of adversity and trauma, trauma specific service seeks to alleviate the symptomology of trauma for the person or family. For organizations that come into contact with people who have experienced trauma and adversity, it is critical that they 1) provide  trauma specific services themselves and/or 2) have “warm” and appropriate referrals to share with individuals and families.

In my time as a clinician, one trauma specific service that I have had the honor to provide is Trauma Recovery Empowerment Model (TREM). TREM is a 24 – 28 week group curriculum that focuses on psychoeducation, peer support, and recovery that utilizes multimodal ways of experience and learning. Being a facilitator of TREM, and a witness and partner in the journey of healing, has consequently made me a better facilitator and champion of TIC. To move TIC from the hypothetical to the practical, based on lived experience, is integral to me. Having years of experience in facilitating trauma specific services, like TREM, has empowered my understanding of the first “R” in the definition of TIC – REALIZE the widespread impact of trauma and adversity AND the pathways to recovery.

I want to personally invite you to consider participating in the upcoming TREM facilitator training, hosted by Trauma Informed Oregon. TIO’s Mandy Davis is one of the few in our region who is certified to provide training for those interested in facilitating a TREM group. She is offering a training on August 26th & 27th. Registration and payment details can be found here.

Historically, and in some case currently, many trauma specific services were not necessarily trauma informed. TREM, in my opinion, is very much grounded in TIC and could serve as a strong addition to your organization’s offerings. For example, TREM values the voice of lived experience and peer support, such that facilitators do not need to have a “professional” standing in order to host the group, and the model is grounded in at least two (but ideally three) facilitators being present at a time. Similarly, TREM does not require that participants demonstrate “engagement” in any specific way, and certainly do not terminate someone’s involvement following a series of absences or tardiness. Most of all, TREM promotes emotional and physical safety and healing in a myriad of ways, including providing case management support when needed and reviewing and predicting content at each session.