Supporting Ourselves and Others: Creating Organizations that are Trauma-Informed
Many providers consider a trauma-informed approach to be appropriate for individual work, but it is also an excellent framework for organizational development.
Administrators can use a trauma-informed approach to create an organization that is responsive to the needs of the staff, residents and their families.
The five principles of a trauma-informed approach build upon and mutually reinforce each other. The principles are safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness and empowerment.
Safety is one of the five principles of a trauma-informed approach. Achieving safety within the organization involves policies and practices that prioritize mental and physical security.
One way to accomplish this is to make sure everyone is aware of resources such as Employment Assistance Programs (EAPs) and on-site security practices.
Ensure that all staff are trained in safety practices including mental health crisis intervention and prevention techniques.
Remember that mental, emotional and physical safety are equally important components of safety.
Another one of the five principles is collaboration. Organizations can create a culture of collaboration by including all levels of staff and even residents in planning processes.
Participation from everyone promotes buy-in, fosters a sense of community and creates a culture that reflects the diverse perspectives of the community.
Organizations that are successful with collaboration can provide multiple pathways to success.
Choice is another one of the five principles. Create an environment where employees and residents are able to make choices in how they do their work and how they solve problems in the community.
The fourth principle of trauma-informed care is trustworthiness, which builds upon safety, choice and collaboration. Trustworthiness can be achieved by practicing consistency and following-through with plans.
When staff and residents are included in planning, they develop trust through seeing their visions supported and realized.
The fifth and final principle of a trauma-informed approach is empowerment. Organizations that find multiple avenues of validation for all levels of staff and residents contribute to empowerment.
Provide visible encouragement and create positive energy to empower your community.
How can you use the five principles of a trauma-informed approach to make your organization more resilient?