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February 12, 2019

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

The concept of parallel process in trauma informed care (TIC), underscores the importance of a well workforce in the implementation of TIC. Service providers have a unique position to both have an influence with service users as well as the organization, and similarly may be impacted by both. As we examine Wellness Across the Lifespan in this newsletter, I’d like to share one strategy that we at TIO have used to attend to our own workforce wellness.

It is thought that when an individual feels a sense of mastery or skillfulness in their work, it contributes to their overall satisfaction of the work and their resilience. While on the one hand “the work”—the work of judges, child welfare workers, teachers, therapists, etc.—is never done, I believe that the feeling of agency and relative efficacy is integral to one’s own sustainability in the work. To be an organization that is trauma informed is to operationalize this knowledge in a way that shares the burden so that it’s not just on the individual to get their professional development work done. But instead, as an organization, to support consistent opportunities for this development to take place for all.

For the last two years, TIO has reduced its staff/project meeting schedule to every other week, and on the off weeks has hosted “Learnings & Musings” (L&M). L&M is an opportunity for an “in service” knowledge exchange, both as shared by members of the team as well as informed by outside facilitators. The meeting lasts between 1.5 – 2 hours, and at the conclusion of the workshop or presentation, we debrief these two questions:

  • How does this content inform my understanding of trauma informed care?
  • How does this L&M experience inform my work at Trauma Informed Oregon?

Our L&M’s have included workshops on implicit bias, as well as workshop facilitated by Bridge 13 and other community partners. Most recently, we hosted a workshop on Trauma Informed Care for Every Body, as presented by Haley Jones. Read their blog post on this important topic. As the workshop pointed out, there are countless examples of ways that people with bodies that fall outside of the social “norm” of America are faced with (micro)aggression and isolation. To be trauma informed is to consider this reality and its impacts, and to respond with inclusive spaces, practices, and procedures.

Discussion Forum

I would love to hear what practices or procedures you’ve used at your organization to promote workforce wellness?