Trauma affects all levels of society, including the home, school, religious institutions, social service organizations, public and private business, the arts and all areas of culture. A major movement has been occurring, throughout the nation, to change our perspective on trauma-informed approaches. The goal of this movement is to increase sensitivity in client care and prevent re-traumatization.
In order to meet this goal, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has created 4 R’s to guide the individual practitioner and society. These R’s include:
1. Realizing the widespread impact of trauma and understand the potential paths of recovery.
2. Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved in the system.
3. Respond by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices.
4. and seeks actively to Resist Re-traumatization.
This guidance has resulted in paradoxical shifts that promote Resiliency and Regulation to promote positive Recovery. These “R’s” are essential to the practice of social work and mental health.
As the ideas and practices spread through society, we have to explore lesser recognized R’s of trauma-informed care, including Respect and Relationship. These two R’s are elements of success in creating a trauma-informed (cultural of) care.
There is a Zen saying:
If there is light in the soul,
There is beauty in the person,
If there is beauty in the person,
There will be harmony in the house,
If there is harmony in the house,
There will be order in the nation,
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.
Respect starts with the individual – has to start with the individual – and then slowly moves through-out society. It starts with the parent in the home, the social worker in the field, the rabbi in the synagogue, the teacher in the physical education program, the supervisor in the organization. This light sparks from respecting oneself and then it then gets paid forward to others around them. It brings gratitude for beauty in the person and harmony in the “house”. It sustains families and transforms organizations and the world.
Respect is defined as the admiration of someone’s ability, qualities or achievements. It creates an atmosphere that promotes safety for the trauma survivor.
- Recruiting, hiring, and retaining trauma-informed staff.
- Training behavioral health service providers on the principles of, and evidence-based and emerging best practices relevant to, TIC.
- Developing and promoting a set of counselor competencies specific to TIC.
- Delineating the responsibilities of counselors and addressing ethical considerations specifically relevant to promoting TIC.
- Providing trauma-informed clinical supervision.
- Committing to prevention and treatment of secondary trauma of behavioral health professionals within the organization.
All of this must be held in the context of a Relationship. The relationship is the healing factor behind it all. Without relationship, there is no family, no organization, no church, no society. In the science of resiliency, the relationship is how we tip the scale from negative to positive outcomes. One healing relationship in a chaos of trauma can provide enough emotional strength for a child or adult to survive.
Reflect on the “R’s” of Trauma-Informed Care:
1. How has your organization utilized the 4 R’s of Recognize, Realize, Respond, and Resist Retraumatization?
2. What can you do to start or improve on any efforts already done using these 4 R’s?
3. Can you define the concepts of Regulation, Resiliency, and Recovery? Write these definitions on an index card and consider them each time you interact with a co-worker, friend, or client.
4. How have the ideas of Respect and Relationship impacted you personally and/or how have you used these two powerful R’s to move others to more positive outcomes?
~> Need training or consultation on how to implement Trauma-Informed Care into your church, school, or business? Let Ron Huxley help you train your staff or community. Email him today at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-709-2023.