Trauma training-Involve Families

We know where ecosystems meet is the site of great diversity. This is true in the training world as well. Frequently medical students are divided by specialty for training, these groups are called subspecialties. These individual group focus intently on their area of which they want to become experts. They focus on a medical specialty to treat humans of various ages. They frequently do not include the actual patients or families of patients. This omission is felt keenly by families.

I have lived experience being the parent of a neuro-diverse child who went undiagnosed until their mid teens. I am a certified family peer support specialist through the state of Oregon. My training and experience helps me to be the connection between the family and professionals.

Frustration exists on both sides. Medical professionals want people to follow treatment; families and consumers want professionals who can truly see and hear them. Too often a family feels like the 10 minute slot they are assigned in a busy provider’s day. While the doc may be a nice person, the words they deliver may just be lifechanging. As I have traveled all over the state, speaking to hundreds of parents and grandparents, they recount the words. Some can describe your shoe color or what you wore, as the line between their past and future starkly came into focus. They felt so scared and helpless.

Trauma

An event that completely overwhelms the one’s ability to cope and has lasting effects on the individual. 
-SAMHSA’s Trauma and Justice Strategic Initiative July 2014

These parents, in the process of working with professionals to care for their children, experience trauma. This experience is usually ongoing as the parent continues to seek care and and treatment. The trauma inflicted by well-meaning providers, receptionists, billers, insurance companies, etc. compounds on itself. I know some parents who are crushed under it’s weight. They had to be hospitalized from the toxic stress. Many others plowed on and made it through, storing the trauma in their bodies, as people do when they don’t have the tools to process it.

A trauma informed provider and their clinic team know that each interaction can heal or retraumatize. They learn about their power dynamic (even if they don’t feel empowered) and how to respond in ways to mitigate the trauma, when and if possible.

If you organization doesn’t provide you with the trauma information you need, please become as familiar with trauma informed care practices on your own. Join my monthly training to continue your knowledge. Youth, consumers and families rely on you. YOU make the difference in appointment. You applying what you learn can be the difference between healing trauma or spreading it. The most powerful trainings I have been a part of included families-as trainers and participants. Healing can happen in real time. Try it, if you haven’t.

Trauma training: dark chocolate and beer-batter pancakes

My name is Shauna and I train people in trauma informed care. My journey in becoming trauma informed began at a conference in 2010. I happened into a breakout session on the advice of a fellow parent attendee. I didn’t understand why I should be interested in this and yet I went. Eleven years later I am intrigued and still learning about the effects of trauma on development and its effects on relationships and the body.

I remember two things from the 90 minute session:

1. We each got a piece of dark chocolate

2. They asked about our earliest memory

I was pleased with the chocolate and had a tough time with the memory. In that room they had us close our eyes. I remember feeling a little awkward and yet as a rule follower, I did as I was told. The uncomfortableness of closing my eyes in a roomful of strangers outweighed the REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE feeling of not doing what I had been told to do. I closed my eyes. Recalling those first memories was a little unsettling.

I don’t remember much of my early years formed in southeast Montana.  The bitter cold winters and searing mosquito summers in a desolate landscape mirror my memories. I left there and have spent many years trying to leave it all behind. In my 40s, a kind child psychiatrist/ neurobiologist helped me make friends with a particularly embarrassing camping activity called beer-batter pancakes.  He reframed it as a great cultural story; it could also have been re-named “backwash breakfast”. When I learned he grew up in North Dakota, it made perfect sense. He had probably seen cigarette butts poured out of beer cans into Bisquick too-LOL! I so appreciate his reframing and now enjoy telling the story for shock value.

Memories are key to learning about trauma, not necessarily the exact recalling of memories. That is, our brains learn through experience and stores that information in our memories. We actually start this process before we are preverbal. We learn really well from bad experiences. It makes sense that my brain held onto the negative events so I that if something similar happened again, I would avoid it. Usually people avoid these things through fight, flight or freeze.

Sometimes the correlation is identifiable, as in the case of my partner. The smell of a candle being lit or extinguished anywhere in the house will prompt him to rapidly search to see what is burning. During his childhood, he accidently set his house on fire with a candle that wasn’t completely extinguished. Thankfully no one was hurt. Forty years later, EVERY candle he smells can evoke that same danger he felt as a little boy. Before I realized the trauma connection, I was annoyed by his vigilance. Now I understand and will let him know before I light something, so he knows it is safe. Sometimes people may not know what makes them nervous and may mistake their trauma response to a panic attack.

Being trauma informed means noticing things, which we will discuss more another day. Being trauma informed helps you recognize your own needs in real time. It helps us to eat healthy foods when we can, to have compassion for ourselves and others, and to give dark chocolate to people who are on their own trauma informed journey.

Another thing those wise trauma trainers in that conference room drilled home was self-care. in 2010, if you goggled the term-nothing came up. Today it is a buzzword and yet very important. As our society is rapidly changing, please be kind to yourself. Find your dark chocolate, something that is healthy and tastes good to you as we continue on our trauma informed journey. It may not be a food. It may be a playlist, breathing exercise, favorite sweater or essential oil. Notice what calms you and use it often.

Interested in learning more about trauma? Take a quick look at Nadine Burke Harris’ TED Talk.  Feel free to contact me if you would like to schedule a group or individual trauma training.

Trauma Training-Trauma Education: Science, Hope, and Healing

Many people who experience trauma will not have lasting negative impact. Others can have ongoing challenges. Learn risk factors and ways to lessen or prevent its damaging effects.

Whether you serve people with developmental disabilities, those who expereince physcial or mental health problems, those involved int he justice or welfare systems, YOU need this training. Concepts will help you take care of yourself and avoid burnout while allowing you to have a better understanding of those you serve.

This three hour training will cover:

· What is Trauma

-Three E’s from SAMHSA

-Individual and collective

-Systemic and historical

-Different types of stress o Prevalence

· What is TIC o Four R’s from SAMHSA

-Difference between trauma specific and trauma informed

-Six SAMHSA principles of TIC

·The Science of Trauma o N.E.A.R. (neurobiology, epigenetics, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and resilience)

-Toxic stress and the functions of the brain

-Organizational change

-An Introduction to the Application of TIC

-Principles of TIC, operationalized

-Emphasis on inclusivity

· An Introduction to Workforce Wellness

-Parallel process and why it’s important

-Vicarious trauma, secondary stress, burnout, vicarious resilience, and compassion satisfaction.

-Self-care versus workforce wellness.

Please note that this training can meet the Standard of Practice for Trauma Informed Care Oregon: I-Ia and III-IIIa.

I. Agency Commitment and Endorsement:

Ia.

Leadership (including administration and governance) has received information/training on trauma and trauma informed care (TIC).

III. Workforce Development

Training IIIa.

 Our agency provides to all employees access to the following content:

· What is Trauma

-Three E’s from SAMHSA

-Individual and collective

-Systemic and historical

-Different types of stress o Prevalence

· What is TIC o Four R’s from SAMHSA

-Difference between trauma specific and trauma informed

-Six SAMHSA principles of TIC

·The Science of Trauma o N.E.A.R. (neurobiology, epigenetics, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and resilience)

-Toxic stress and the functions of the brain

-Organizational change

-An Introduction to the Application of TIC

-Principles of TIC, operationalized

-Emphasis on inclusivity

· An Introduction to Workforce Wellness

-Parallel process and why it’s important

-Vicarious trauma, secondary stress, burnout, vicarious resilience, and compassion satisfaction.

-Self-care versus workforce wellness.

Note:  These domains come from the SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach.

I also have other training to cover the Standard IIIc-Our organization provides ongoing training and education on topics relevant to applying TIC principles (e.g., webinars, videos, events, learning collaboratives). Click here to contact me.

You may take this as an individual in a group or schedule a specific training for your organization. Click here for upcoming trauma training.

Healing trauma 2021: engage your humanity

I first heard the idea of engaging your humanity while on a Shane Safir webinar last summer. She referenced it during the agreements at the beginning. She said, “engage your humanity-children and pets welcome.” A fellow attendee expanded on the concept during breakout. She explained that engaging your humanity is the next step in self-care. It includes self-care and realizes that you, me, each of us is in the web of humanity. We are connected to one another.

Much of the trauma we experience happens at the hand of another human being. Typically we who experience trauma shut other people out as a way to protect ourselves.  Even people who use sex as a coping tool, use physical touch as a way to protect themselves from others getting close to them emotionally. We shut people out. We rely on ourselves. We don’t ask for help. We don’t want to get hurt again.

Engaging in our humanity asks us to reconsider. Reconsider, even if we have been hurt. Perhaps even reconsider because we have been hurt.

Living in America in 2021 means you have been hurt; some more than others. For our brothers and sisters of color, the oppression continues for white people who are waking up, we see the pain caused by our ancestors. We see the pain the systems have and continue to cause, that we benefit from. We have experienced pain through the collective grief of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the political system.

A call to unity is not enough. Saying sorry is not enough. I do not know what it will take, but know that accountability and restoration are needed. This blog will reflect on more on these concepts soon.

We are all tired. Bone tired. Self-care isn’t cutting it. By itself, self-care can’t cut it. Self-care rises out of individualism. One has to take care of oneself- this is true. For the most part, no one is going to take care of you. In reality no one can do it for you. 

To practice self-care and stop there is not enough. It would never be enough. To stop there leaves us on our own. To engage one’s humanity is to acknowledge that I am a part, a needed part, and yet just a part of a larger web. 

My web includes all of me-the good, the bad, the challenging, warts and all. It includes my people AND me, my humanity. My achievements and mistakes are woven into the fabric. It needs me to be well taken care of and also plugged into my web.

My self-care is important because my web needs me to be the best I can. My part of the web can be damaged by my action or inaction. My web needs me well cared for and present. 

For those of us who have experienced trauma, we are unable to engage in our humanity with healing and support. If the impacts of your trauma keep you from engaging in your humanity, I encourage you to take a huge step that will feel scary. I would ask that you seek out professional help from people trained to walk beside you while you heal. While you learn to be ok in your humanity.

For some, you may have never felt comfortable in your humanity. You may have never felt welcome there. In the place where you are you. In the place where you are safe and you are enough. I reassure you, this place exists. You may not be there now, but it does exist somewhere and there are people who can help find it.

There are trauma support groups, trauma counselors and some of this may be free.

In Oregon, you can find information at your county health department. Click here to find your county health department.

211info has trauma resources by zip code. You can search online: click her to go to https://www.211info.org/. Or you can TEXT your zip code to 898211 (TXT211); (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).

On Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists. Here you can find therapists, support groups and programs. These can be filtered by location and insurance.

If you live in Oregon and don’t have insurance, you may be eligible for a free plan that includes mental health care. Click here to find contact info for a person who can walk you through the insurance process.

Covid-19 Trauma: Long-haulers

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA) defines trauma-

“an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.”

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], Trauma and Justice Strategic Initiative, 2012, p. 2

Some people may wonder, is Covid-19 Pandemic trauma? Could it have lasting impact on me or my loved ones?

The answer is yes, for some it will be, if it has lasting negative effects on the person or their wellbeing. That is what we know. What we don’t know is who, how, and how much.

For some, their Covid-19 trauma is here in the form of being a long hauler.*

A long-hauler is someone whose Covid-19 symptoms go on longer than 28 days. Many continue to experience ongoing symptoms.

Adjusting to a chronic illness and disability of a condition for which few treatments exist will be just one of many challenges. If you or someone you know is a long hauler, they may find help from the collective wisdom of others with lived experience. Peer support, education, empathy and management of symptoms can help one adjust.

Many long haulers are turning to Body Politic for those three things. It is

a global network of COVID19 patients, chronic illness allies, and health and disability advocates, Body Politic breaks down barriers to patient-driven whole-person care and well-being, particularly for historically marginalized communities by facilitating peer-support, cultivating patient-led research and public education, and leading community-based advocacy.

Their resource page includes recorded webinars for handling the fatigue and cognitive issues, info on their private support group.

Click here to go to the Body Politic Resource website page.

As a person whose disability can overtake my life during flare ups, I feel for long-haulers. Learning to accept one’s limitations is difficult. Some well-meaning people share pithy platitudes and think it is support. Yes, a positive mindset can help get you through the day. However, most of us need more than a smile to face what our days might hold.

Some find identifying the feelings that pop up and managing them as needed to be a coping strategy. Sometimes people need others to help them with this, such as a family member, peer or professional. Others process theirs using mindfulness and letting the big feelings pass through.

If you haven’t yet learned about processing stress, please listen to Brene Brown and the Nagoski sisters break it down. Click here for the podcast https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-emily-and-amelia-nagoski-on-burnout-and-how-to-complete-the-stress-cycle/

Episode attribution
Brown, B. (Host). (2020, October 14). Brené with Emily and Amelia Nagoski on Burnout and How to Complete the Stress Cycle. [Audio podcast episode]. In Unlocking Us with Brené Brown. Cadence13. https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-emily-and-amelia-nagoski-on-burnout-and-how-to-complete-the-stress-cycle/

There are many other ways the Covid-19 Pandemic has and will cause trauma-homelessness, unemployment, social isolation, parenting burnout, professional burnout, compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, coupled with social inequities of the Pandemic, etc. Please seek help for yourself as needed. Here are a few resources.

Youth ERA
Empowering youth through virtual drop-in centers, and peer support via Switch and text

Youth Line
24/7 help for youth
CALL 877-968-8491  TEXT ‘teen2teen’ to 839863

The Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth

Reach Out Oregon
1-833-REACH-OR or 1-833-732-2467

Lines for Life
“However you experience a crisis, it is always OK to ask for help”
800-273-8255 Suicide Lifeline

211info.org
Call 211 or 1-866-698-6155 TEXT your zip code to 898211 (TXT211)
Email: help@211info.org

Oregon Family to Family Health Information Center
855-323-6744

Are you interested in trauma training for your organization or want to understand its impacts on you? Click here to contact me.

Are there levels of training for trauma informed care?

Yes is the short answer. Those levels are not universally recognized unless you speaking of a specific certification or degree. In Oregon, Trauma Informed Oregon’s Standards of Practice for Trauma Informed Care can help guide you in implementing it. Click here to download a copy.

There are three basic recommendations. These leave a lot of room for customization for the organization. Oregon is a state that contains both urban and rural/frontier areas. Service organizations vary by geography. In some places, county health may be the only option. More populated areas offer more choices from large clinics with a large service array that are connected to hospitals. This Standards of Practice allows each organization to use it as they need.  In addition, how these are done is up to the organization. If you need help, please click here to contact me about consulting. I would be happy to work with you to get your organization on the road to Trauma Informed Care. Remember, that this is an ongoing process. As a matter of fact,  III. IIIc addresses just this.

It is broken out into three areas- IIIa, IIIa, IIIc-

I. Agency Commitment and Endorsement:

Ia.

Leadership (including administration and governance) has received information/training on trauma and trauma informed care (TIC).

III. Workforce Development

Training IIIa.

 Our agency provides to all employees access to the following content:

· What is Trauma

-Three E’s from SAMHSA

-Individual and collective

-Systemic and historical

-Different types of stress o Prevalence

· What is TIC o Four R’s from SAMHSA

-Difference between trauma specific and trauma informed

-Six SAMHSA principles of TIC

·The Science of Trauma o N.E.A.R. (neurobiology, epigenetics, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and resilience)

-Toxic stress and the functions of the brain

-Organizational change

-An Introduction to the Application of TIC

-Principles of TIC, operationalized

-Emphasis on inclusivity

· An Introduction to Workforce Wellness

-Parallel process and why it’s important

-Vicarious trauma, secondary stress, burnout, vicarious resilience, and compassion satisfaction.

-Self-care versus workforce wellness.

Note: 

These domains come from the SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach.

I offer these trainings in three 90 minute trainings for $900. These can be done in one, two, or three days. Click here to contact me to talk about your organization becoming Trauma Informed.

Notice, the organization has a lot to decide. How is this provided? When? How? Does EVERYONE get this training?

IIIc.

Our organization provides ongoing training and education on topics relevant to applying TIC principles (e.g., webinars, videos, events, learning collaboratives).

Whether your organization is just beginning get trauma informed or if you are looking for an innovative way of continuing education, my offerings are sure to please.

Trauma Informed Training 2021

Training your staff in trauma today is more important than ever. Some  seek training to meet the Oregon Health Authority Trauma Training Requirement, support their team, or to better care for clients. Perhaps you are doing this for a mixture of all. Or maybe because you are part of the movement referenced by Nadine Burke Harris’ TED Talk.  If you haven’t seen it, please take 15 minutes today to watch it.

Here are a few thoughts about become trauma informed in 2021:

Learning continues

Here in Oregon we are fortunate to have Trauma Informed Oregon. Their training is a basic intro into trauma. Introduction is important to remember as there are college degrees in trauma now. One could start learning about it and never learn all there is to know.

Trainer experience matters
When choosing a trainer, consider their experience and education. I am biased in that I am a certified peer support worker (Oregon Traditional Healthcare Worker ) . As such I have lived experience.  Not only have I learned about trauma, I also know what it looks like in reality. As a peer worker, I have seen/heard a lot about what it looks like in other people’s homes as well. My training provides insight from that perspective. My dear mom always asks me why I don’t go back to school and become a counselor. I always tell her that, almost anyone can become a counselor but not everyone can become a peer.

Staff impact varies
Expect your staff to be impacted in various ways. Some may become trauma champions and want to help implement trauma informed care into your organization. Some may recognize that they are survivors of trauma and need support at some time. This could be immediate or could arise over time. Some may see this as just another training to check off. Each person’s approach and processing will differ. Plan for it. Give people time for safe reflection.

Expect shifts
For some people, learning about trauma is like a light switch going on; they are able to see things clearly that may have tripped them up before. This knowledge empowers them and is part of their healing. They may speak up in meetings and point out policies or situations in which the organization can do better. Prepare for this. Be ready to listen. Be ready to learn.

Views may shift
Each of us is plays various roles, not only in our organization but also in our families and communities. As a staff member is learning about trauma, the information filters in through the various lenses. This is referred to as Parallel Process in Trauma Informed Oregon’s Work. Staff may feel caught between what is trauma informed for the client and what the organization needs.  As your organization becomes more trauma informed, this is less pronounced.

Click here to contact me about training your staff today.

LGBTQ+ Youth and Family Support in 2021

Hello friends; wishing each of you a good 2021! As I consider 2020, I am overcome with gratitude for your support and partnership.

The year started with getting to be the keynote speaker at FACTOregon Regional Learning Summits teaching about Resilience. Going around the state and meeting so many parent advocates was inspiring.

Sharing about trauma and resilience with The Arc Oregon was a highlight of the summer.

Working on the LGBTQ+ Youth Support Project with Matthew was fun and rewarding. They and I would love to support families and youth in your area. We are open to leading additional workshops for parents and community members who are interested in learning how to support the LGBTQ+ youth in their communities. We have a Resource Fair ready to go and would love to host a Learning Collaborative.

Click here to contact Shauna

In an effort to continue the work, I am assisting Fierce Families as they are starting up a volunteer parent peer network for transgender families. In their own words, “We are a network of families who cherish our transgender children, grandchildren, and other family members. We advocate for our loved ones with the collective strength of an ever-growing network of families from every corner of Oregon.” The work is needed and exciting!

Click here to learn more about Fierce Families

Working with the Central Oregon Support Network to provide Wellness Wednesdays and Youth Mental Health First Aid provided a bright spot in a difficult fall. Thanks to Dianna, Jenny, Yecina, Becky, and Melissa for sharing their expertise and passion for families. You can follow Melissa on Instagram at Click here for Inspired Boldness. Video recordings are available at https://www.codsn.org/codsn-recorded-webinars.html.

We know there will be challenges. We know that we are strong. Stay connected, take care. Process the stress as it comes. Know that you are enough. You are not alone.

Refill your reservoir

September 2020 has been intense. After a challenging year, this last month found many of us on the west coast isolated inside or even to a single room to avoid hazardous air for a week. Like many, I found my resilience reservoir tapped out. Multiple rounds of focused breathing did not loosen the tightness in my core. Overwhelmed by unrelenting politics and news, systemic racism and oppression, Covid-19 fatigue, and loss of life and property due to fires; I had nothing more to give. I needed to get grounded with nature; let my body touch the wild.  I set off with a small pack and some protective covering for the rain. 

Watching the river muddy from showers and glacial melt tumble over rocks, I sat on a cold boulder. The brown water danced over the rapids and reminded me of the danger of the raging river. I was also aware of the breath still constricted weeks after the smoke cleared. The knot between my ribs holding tight, the part of me stuck in the anxious and fearful past.

Respecting the boundaries of the swollen river, I moved to higher ground. Atop a sandy knoll was a bent tree covered in moss, the perfect place to rest a weary  body and soul. I lay on my back looking up.  The sun poked through the tree canopy as the rain fell. Water collected and then dropped into my mouth off my rain protective cover. I laughed out loud when the first drop surprised my tongue. The delight of cool water was an unexpected gift from the heavens.

The sun shone as the rain fell and brought to mind another memory of sunlit rain many years ago. After a few hours of uphill climbing up Handies Peak, my body was tired from the effort and short of breath from the altitude. Suddenly sunlight blinded my eyes and rain soaked my body; the beauty of being on top of a mountain and beholding the bright sun and clean rain is emblazoned in my memory.

Here I was many years later, mesmerized by the sun and the rain again.  I had come though another arduous time and knew nature would sooth my utter weariness.  I went to the wild, knowing that somehow, my reservoir would be filled.

I breathed. I laid. I waited. I would stay all day. Cool water drops fell one by one into my mouth refreshing and grounding me. A bird with a white tail landed on a branch several trees away. It jumped from branch to branch until it looked down on me. Eventually it flew away.

The softness of the moss and perfect curve of the tree cradled my head and back. I was so grateful for the comfort of the earth and being held.

Bit by bit the knot went away. The bound up feeling in under my ribs somehow slowly let go. Eventually I was ready to move on. It was a gift. Feeling refreshed inside and out, I thanked the tree and the bird and the forest and walked out, my reservoir filled again.

The poet Wendell Berry spoke of a similar experience

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.