I started teaching parents and professionals about trauma 10 years ago. I had lived experience, trauma training from one of the top trauma researchers in the world, an understanding of peer delivered experience and my degree in communication to help me convey the important message of hope.
Learning about the effect of trauma on my developing brain transformed my life and in turn my relationships and the way I interacted with all people in my life. I began to learn about how the nervous system responds and can take over when it senses threat. I learned how it uses past experience and not the logical part of brain to do this. I started a lifelong exploration of self-care in the form of sensory interventions.
Lately I have been in a few professional development trainings where the trainer would touch on trauma. I am excited to see that the topic is being covered and also concerned that many people only have the basic overview and not the deeper knowledge to do a solid job of training others in what they need to know.
I cut my teeth on Systems of Care values and principles to improve child serving systems. This emphasized multidisciplinary collaboration, being strengths based, being culturally responsive, and utilizing the experience of those involved. Systems of Care heavily influences my work to this day and sets me apart.
When you go to hire a trauma trainer, look into their experience. Are they merely trained in a curriculum? What audiences have they trained before? Do they have lived experience? How does that affect their work? Lived experience alone does not make an effective trainer. Education alone does not make an effective trainer. Another question to ask is how will the trainer handle sensitive subjects.
I would love to know how you decide who to use. What questions do you ask?
Shauna worked at the Oregon Family to Family Health Information Center for six years as Coordinator and Trainer. Prior to that she did training and outreach for the Oregon Family Support Network and grant work in supporting rural families in eastern Oregon. She is the parent of two young adults, one of whom went undiagnosed with a neurodevelopmental condition until age 15. The lack of support and a family trauma took its toll on their mental health. Neither option of talk therapy or medicine was Shauna’s subsequent education in the neurobiology of trauma, Collaborative Problem Solving, and Systems of Care values provided a solid foundation along with peer support to help her daughter get what she needed to graduate from high school and move into adulthood. Shauna was a state trainer for NAMI Basics, Tier 2 Certified in Collaborative Problem Solving, chosen to be in the 2017 Family Leader Co-hort for the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs. She currently teaches Youth Mental Health First Aid, Project Leadership, Serving on Groups, and her own Trauma Education: Science, Hope and Healing. She is part of a national network with the American Academy of Pediatrics to incorporate mental health training into pediatric residency curricula across the nation.
Shauna has spent the last 12 years working with youth and families experiencing mental health and trauma challenges. She has acted as an advocate, peer support, and above all an educator for both systems and individuals. “We as parents try so hard. I was fortunate to learn about the brain and how stress affects our nervous system. By applying a few concepts, I was able to meet my children’s needs and my own in a way that honored the effort I was putting in. Our family as a whole improved and I was able to enjoy life too.”