Our sensitive overlords at the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care are holding a conference this weekend; their 3rd in a series spanning two decades. I must be in pretty bad shape to consider this good news, but beneath the layers of shmooze and self-congratulation must lie some potential toward changing hearts and minds in the bureaucracies they toy with. That’s what I tell myself, looking over the program schedule (PDF), which kicks off July 10 with a private all-day Consumer/Survivor/ Peer/Expert Meeting to develop a National Consensus Statement on Trauma-Informed Care. Heaven knows it is time for that or something like it.
From the pink flower-embossed, healing brochure:
The Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) has been sponsoring conferences that have defined the agenda of what needs to be done to recognize, understand, spark, and speed the healing and recovery process from violence and trauma.
From Dare to Vision in 1994, to Dare to Act in 2004, and now Dare to Transform in 2008 we are moving closer to real action for positive and lasting change. Our Goal: Revolutionizing Human Services with Trauma-Informed Care.
Trauma-informed programs and services represent the revolutionary transformation as the “new generation” of mental health and allied human services organizations and programs that serve people with histories of violence and trauma. Trauma survivors and consumers in these programs and services are likely to have histories of physical and sexual abuse as well as other types of trauma-inducing experiences.
These adverse experiences often lead to mental health and other types of co-occurring disorders such as health issues, substance abuse, eating disorders, HIV/AIDS, and contact with the criminal justice system. Unrecognized trauma also may lead to misdiagnosis or mistreatment of consumers and survivors.
When a human service program becomes trauma-informed, every part of its organization, management, and service delivery system is assessed and potentially modified to include a basic understanding of how trauma impacts the life of the individual seeking services. Trauma-informed organizations, programs, and services are based on an understanding of the trauma survivor’s vulnerabilities, which traditional service delivery approaches may inadvertently exacerbate and, as a result, cause re-traumatization.
This shift marks the change from a place that merely
carries out services to one that becomes a safe place of healing for the people it aims to serve. It is from this place of understanding that we have come together at Dare to Transform – a starting point for revolutionizing our systems of care.
TIC and Impact of Self-Injury
Ruta Mazelis, NCTIC
Anita Mallinger, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape
Mary Blake, Public Health Advisor, CSP, CMHS
and Alternate Federal Project Officer, NCTIC
This workshop will explore the concept of self-inflicted violence (SIV is self-injury such as cutting, burning, or punching oneself). The purposes of SIV, its relationship to trauma, and the benefits of trauma-informed care will be explored from various perspectives. The presenters include those who have lived with SIV as well as therapists who have helped facilitate healing for people who self-injure.
Comfort Rooms and Other Comforting Strategies in TIC
Gayle Bluebird, NTAC/NASMHPD
Comfort rooms – places for people to experience feelings within acceptable boundaries – have been developed to provide sanctuary from stress. Participants will learn how to design a room, what to place in
it, and creative activities that people can engage in. The discussion will also include the major role peer providers can play a major role in creating these rooms in a variety of settings.
Trauma-Informed Care Needs of Combat Veterans
Tom Tarantino, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Guy Gambill, Vets Consultant
Abel Moreno, Vets4Vets
This session will draw attention to the prevalence of trauma and PTSD for veterans of current and past conflicts and the significant barriers that exist for soldiers who need healing.
Trauma-Informed Care Program Development: Overview of Three TIC Systematic Organizational Consultation Models
Sandra Bloom, Community Works
(Sanctuary Network Model)
Roger Fallot, Community Connections
Judy Ford and Julian Ford, University of CT
(Advanced Trauma Solutions Approach with TARGET Model)
Gender Matters in TIC: Creating Services for Women and Girls
Stephanie Covington, Institute for Relational Development, Center for Gender and Justice
Over the past 30 years our knowledge of women’s lives has increased dramatically, and we have added significantly to our understanding of the treatment needs of women and girls. Historically, treatment, research, and recovery have been based on men’s lives and have typically neglected the very real differences in women’s experience. This presentation offers a definition of gender-responsive services as well as discussing trauma through the lens of gender differences: risk, response, and clinical implications.
Creating a TIC Culture of Connection in Child Serving Agencies
Pat Wilcox, Klingberg Family Centers
Steven Brown, Director, Traumatic Stress Institute of Klingberg Family Centers
This approach utilizes Risking Connection® trauma training and the Restorative Approach™ implementation model. One agency’s process will illustrate the reasons change is necessary, how the trauma-informed model compares to a traditional control-oriented model, how to utilize training, how to facilitate the process of changing an agency, barriers to change and how to address them, and long-term benefits of transformation.
State TIC Activity
Ann Jennings, The Anna Institute
Information about trauma-informed activities was requested from Mental Health Program Directors of 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine what each state was engaged in. A total of 44 states and the District of Columbia responded with reports of their trauma-related activities. The results of this survey are encouraging and show a significant increase since 2004 in the number of states involved in trauma-informed activities (from 29 in 2004 to 45 including DC in 2007), and an increase in the amount of reported trauma-related activities toward meeting each of the 12 criteria. This session will provide an overview of the criteria and findings.
Developing a Trauma-Informed System of Care: State of Connecticut Initiative
Roger Fallot, PhD, Community Connections
Eileen Russo, Advanced Trauma Solutions
Linda Frisman, University of CT
This workshop will highlight the efforts and early outcomes of a cutting-edge Connecticut initiative that is trauma-informed and recovery-oriented. The goals are to deliver the State perspective and provide an overview from the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services; discuss the development, mission, and outcomes of the Trauma Center of Excellence; discuss the key components and strategies of the Trauma-Informed Systems Change Model effort; and present early evaluation findings by highlighting outcomes and lessons learned.
How Consumers and their Allies Turned Coercion and Trauma into Safety, Hope, and TIC at NVMHI
Mary Ann Beall, NCTIC
Valerie Marsh, Director, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor, ME
Lynn Delacy, Retired CEO NVMHI
Amy Rushton, Director, Community Support Center, NVMHI
This presentation will show, from multiple perspectives, how people with
psychiatric disabilities, who were also trauma and abuse survivors, achieved longterm change in the Virginia public mental health system by partnering with skilled advocates and committed professionals to make their dream of coercion reduction, trauma awareness, and trauma-informed practice a reality. Participants will learn to raise awareness of the value of strategic planning, build effective partnerships, and adopt tactical flexibility in accomplishing sustainable system change.
Don’t Turn Your Back: What TIC You Can Do in Your Community
This workshop will discuss a locally-based TIC program as an example of what communities can do to support children living with various forms of abuse, neglect, and trauma. This program operates with no financial support and its participants, who work together to mitigate some of the damage that trauma has done to children, illustrate how and concerned community member can play a valuable role in TIC.
Model of TIC Growth and Recovery: Peer-Driven Approach and TIC Organizational Administration
The Women’s Resource Centers of Western Massachusetts (WRCs) will share how their peer-driven approach has led to personal growth and healing for trauma survivors. The panel will discuss how, using a peer to peer model and trauma-informed organizational administration and management, the WRCs reflect the Model of Growth and Recovery that was developed by women with lived experience during the 1998 SAMHSA Women, Co-occurring Disorders and Violence study. This model serves as the guiding force behind the practice and programs of the WRCs. Each panel member will bring her own perspective to help others understand how healing can happen in a trauma-informed community.
TIC Implementation Site Panel Discussion
Presenters from implementation sites (Rhode Island Department of Corrections and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital) will discuss their work in creating trauma sensitive, trauma-informed programs that are responsive to the needs of trauma survivors by addressing key factors: 1) the role of agency leadership; 2) the identification and organization of trauma champions within the agency; 3) the raising of awareness and understanding of trauma through universal screening and assessment for trauma prevalence and its effects; the development of approaches/pract- ices that minimize re-traumatization, enhance safety, and promote models for trauma-specific interventions; 4) the development of empowerment models that integrate the consumer/survivor voice in all aspects of planning and services; and 5) the review of existing program / employment and retention / retraining policies to ensure their fit with trauma-informed care management. Presenters will cover specific implementation and cultural issues for each site based on the unique
nature of the organization/agency, as well as common struggles in facilitating and evaluating organizational change and how these struggles are being addressed.
Improving Responsiveness of the Criminal Justice System to the Needs of Veterans
Vets4Vets, MN Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, National GAINS Center
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are almost a quarter million veterans in Federal and State prisons. As of 2004, 4% of that total was Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans. Two states, California and Minnesota, have passed legislation which allows for veterans whose crimes result from combat trauma to be referred for treatment rather than face incarceration.
Training Workshop for Beyond Trauma: A Healing Journey for Women
Institute for Relational Development, Center for Gender and Justice
Workshop based on a woman-centered trauma treatment curriculum, designed for use in outpatient, residential, and criminal justice settings. Cognitive-behavioral, expressive arts, and the principles of relational therapy are integrated in this strength-based approach. The workshop includes interactive exercises that demonstrate techniques counselors can use to help women and girls develop coping skills as well as emotional wellness. The emphasis is on learning ways to facilitate a transformative healing process in the context of women’s treatment and recovery.
Concrete Methods for Using Strengths and Trauma Histories in
Working with Traumatized Youth in Residential Treatment
Astor Home for Children, TIC Consultant
Workshop participants will learn to: 1) find and use the strength within the resident’s struggles; 2) infuse strengths into the setting and daily structure; 3) use the trauma history to understand a resident’s world view; and 4) use strengths and trauma histories to identify intervention points and individualize care.
Risking Connection® in Urban Baltimore: Spirituality and Victim Services Initiative
This presentation will describe the Spirituality and Victim Services Collaborative in urban East Baltimore, one of five competitively chosen three year projects funded in 2003 by DOJ/OVC. Sidran will teach how to use the Risking Connection® model to build mutually-supportive, trauma-informed collaborative relationships across disciplines in faith, health, and crime victim assistance agencies.
Complex Trauma, Complex Lives: Developing Domestic Violence and Trauma-Informed Services in Under-Resourced Systems
The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health
This workshop will provide a framework for responding to the traumatic effects of domestic violence and other lifetime trauma while maintaining a social justice perspective. It will also present a review of emerging models for responding to complex trauma in the context of ongoing domestic violence and offer practical strategies for addressing these issues in clinical and advocacy settings.
Refugees, Victims of Torture, and Trafficking
Capt. John Tuskan, R.N., M.S.N., Director of SAMHSA’s Refugee Mental Health
Andrea Blanch, Center for Religious Tolerance
Marta Brenden, Coordinator for Refugee Health Programs, ACF
There are over 2.5 million refugees who have resettled in the U.S. since 1975. Refugees may be exposed to many different traumatic stressful experiences. Human trafficking is a global problem, with approximately 600,000-800,000 victims trafficked across international borders each year. The U.S. State Department estimates that between 14,500 and 17,500 victims are trafficked into this country each year. This session will provide an overview of the refugee experience and the behavioral health issues associated with torture and human trafficking. Special focus will be placed on trauma-informed care needs of refugee women.
TIC and Finding Our Voices
Cheryl Reese, EDUCARE Systems, Inc
This workshop introduces a collaborative, relational dynamic model that creates trust, safety/security, and empowerment to women who have experienced difficulty with mental health settings. Participants will develop an understanding of importance of a culture-specific program for bisexual and lesbian women, develop skills for using trauma framework in community mental health programs, and understand the use of Respect, Information, Connection and Hope (RICH) in a successful trauma resolution program.
Involving Consumers to Create Recovery-Oriented, Trauma-Informed Systems of Care
Institute on Trauma and Homelessness
The National Center on Family Homelessness
The session will present research regarding integrated treatment and consumer involvement in trauma-informed and recovery-oriented systems of care for persons with mental illness, addictions, trauma, and homelessness and highlight the intersection of homelessness and trauma. Participants will engage in discussions regarding the benefits, challenges, methods, and strategies of consumer involvement. These discussions will be enhanced by a small panel of consumers who will speak about their experiences within the shelter and mental health systems.
Other showcases include a trauma-informed drag queen, hip-hop artists, open mike night and ink and paint creators, but inherent cynicism tells me what will be the highpoint of this important conference:
A Discussion with Mildred Muhammad, Ex-wife of the DC Sniper
This session will share the compelling personal story of Mildred Muhammad, ex-wife of the DC Sniper who survived domestic violence, the abduction of her children, stalking, and the threat of murder.
So much to improve, so hard to choose.