April 9, 2019

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

As we strive to bring organizations and systems into alignment with trauma informed care (TIC) principles, we must also advocate for accessible and culturally responsive trauma specific services (TSS). The contributors for this newsletter share their approach to helping individuals and families heal from traumatizing events. This is different from TIC which focuses on organizations and systems integrating the knowledge about the impact of toxic stress into policies and procedures. We believe that TIC principles are applicable across systems from education to park rangers to the DMV however not everyone needs to provide TSS (DMV therapy? Maybe they could provide animal therapy?).

I started my social work career at a private nonprofit providing TSS with children and adults who had experienced trauma. I am often pulling from these experiences and this skill set as I strive to implement TIC. I think about how TIC is often about taking what we have learned (successes and mistakes) from TSS and applying it to organizations and systems. TIC and TSS inform each other. Instead of focusing on an individual, we are asking how does the organization or system promote or hinder healing? Here are some lessons I learned from survivors that apply to organizations as well:

  • Healing takes time—advocate for time.
  • Validation and shared experience are healing and sustaining.
  • Learning to regulate your body and mind is empowering.
  • Widening the lens of how we see ourselves (more than the trauma experienced) is important.
  • Share what you have to offer before asking “why are you here.”
  • Starting, stopping, moving forward, and moving backward are all part of healing.
  • Acknowledge and work to heal the harm of your system.
  • Relationship is important and so are skills.
  • Find ways to evaluate change—recognize progress.
  • Be flexible. What and how people heal is as dynamic as people themselves.

It can be hard for systems to figure out how to be flexible, predictable, and equitable, which is why we need to advocate for the healing that survivors ask for. It is important to remember that healing happens—and happens in so many beautiful and messy ways. I am grateful for the healing stories in these blogs.

Helpful Blog Posts

What’s Going on at TIO

  • The Trauma Informed Care in Oregon Conference (October 16 – 18, 2019) is shaping up to be an inspiring gathering! With your help, our goal is to share what is happening in Oregon and connect across systems and regions. The more Sponsors we have the more we can provide, so please pass on this along. Here’s our Save the Date flyer to send out as well.
  • Legislative session is happening! There are several bills that relate to trauma and TIC. Here is a sample from the past few weeks where the great work around Oregon was shared: SB 1037 highlighting resilience education and skills taskforce, HB 2969 focusing on Trauma Informed Practice integration, HB 3300 regarding a center for mothers who are incarcerated.  Let us know those you are watching.
  • Another cohort has completed the online TIC class.
  • Stephanie Sundborg, TIO’s Research and Evaluation Coordinator hugged a sloth during spring break!!!
  • OTAC is finalizing a tip sheet of suggestions by youth to be used in schools around the guiding principles of TIC. This tip sheet is being vetted and will be presented to the Children’s System Advisory Council on May 24th.

Where We’ve Been

  • We attended the 2019 Oregon Suicide Prevention Conference and a viewing of OPB’s Oregon Experience documentary, “Oregon’s Black Pioneers.”
  • We’ve shared Oregon’s work with St. Louis providers and attended a trauma informed Oregon pilot school update.
  • We’ve traveled to Eugene, Bend, Gresham, Corvallis, Salem, Salem, and more Salem!

To Do List:

    1. How Ideas Become Law (includes a helpful graphic at the bottom of the page)
    2. How to Find a Bill
    3. Subscribe to E-mail Alerts
    4. Legislative Audio and Video
  • The more Sponsors, the more we can offer! Please spread the word to those you know. Any amount is appreciated or you might have skills to donate instead of money!
  • Why I Rock 3rd Annual Conference is scheduled! Please pass along the flyer.