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:
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.
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.