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How to Make Your Organization Uniquely Trauma Informed

Reading to prepare for a presentation next week to a leadership group, I came across this information. No, I didn’t accidentally come across it, the training was written by Shenandoah Chefalo who spoke at IUN (Indiana University Northwest Child Abuse Conference 4 years ago. I follow Shen’s ongoing work and have reached out to her numerous times for direction in various projects. Shen writes on workplace trauma and what happens when it is overlooked:
. Increased absenteeism and tardiness
. Poor and inconsistent performance
. High turnover and poor retention rates
. Increase health care costs
. Lethargic employees who struggle with brain fog
. Unresolved issues that plague leaders and entire teams
. Exteme lack of loyalty, safety, and compassion
Does any of this sound familiar? Does it describe the milieu in your workplace, in your organization? And your workplace does not have to be in a high powered industry. You could work for a social service organization, city government, a health care facility…So what can you do? You become a trauma-informed care organization. You adopt the principles of trauma informed care, not only for your patrons, constituents, clients, patients, but first, for your employees. Let your fellow staff know that their voice matters, their choices matter, their safety matters, their needs matter, THEY matter. Because, if they don’t feel seen, listened to, heard, and safe, they will not be able to provide that to all of the folks coming through your doors for your services.

It is so important for each organization, business, law practice, medical practice, philanthropic foundation, etc, to look through the lens of the services they provide. Policies, trauma-informed policies, will look different based on the organizations principles. They should follow SAMAHSA’s (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) Guidelines 6 Guiding Principles which i’ve alluded to above: Safety, trustworthiness and transparency, peer support, collaboration and mutuality, empowerment: voice and choice, and cultural, historical and gender issue. BUT, each organization’s trauma informed policies will reflect the values of the organization/agency/ practice. For a definition of those principles, a particular entity will be looking at the services they provide and AND the needs of their staff and the patrons, clientele/ customers/patients/consitutents, who walk through their doors.

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