What is the Process of Becoming Trauma-Informed?

Lakeside's trauma-informed programs prioritize perceiving organizations biocratically, necessitating preparation, training, and practice for comprehensive trauma-informed care. Transformative efforts are crucial for healthier systems.
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Lakeside operates trauma-informed programs for students and helps systems, schools, and organizations become trauma informed. We have come to realize it takes a great deal of intentionality, determination, and effort. There are many ways to look at the process, but some basic components are necessary.

The first step is a clear perception and purpose. For so long, we have seen our organizations very mechanistically. One of the perspectives Dr. Sandra Bloom has taught us is we need to view our systems and organizations as biocratic. It’s an old term with a contemporary sense that we need to look at organizations like living, breathing organisms since they are filled with humans.

Our organizations are not simply machines but comprised of people seeking to have their basic needs met. Those needs include safety, health, independence, acceptance, personal power, purpose, nurture, support, and other aspects of emotional and relational health. This perspective shapes our approach to how we strengthen our humanity within our systems. Knowing that trauma and adversity are a prevalent part of our past, we’re sensitive to what happened to each individual as we consider how to support and manage them.

Secondly, it takes preparation and a process to teach and understand all that trauma-informed care requires. Learning how trauma and adversity impacts our emotions, neurology, physiology and behavior is so important in understanding how to care for others in our sphere of influence. It takes time to make that paradigm shift, gain a new lens for each other, and learn how to identify how what has happened to someone impacts so many issues in their lives.

We all can benefit from quality trauma training. It enlightens us on these issues and teaches us how to assess, understand, and relate to behaviors we have not traditionally understood. We also can avoid trauma triggers to each other if we’re aware of how the brain operates and how we can prevent high threat to those we encounter each day.

Finally, we need to practice the art of trauma-informed care. It is naïve to think there won’t be a lot of effort and quite a process to learn and understand a new way of creating relationships that are healthy, holistic, and sensitized to how our brains work. We call it brain-based education in our schools, and it really does have a significant impact in how we understand our emotions, reactions, and capacities. As we practice, learn, gain skills, and emerge in trauma-informed practices, we become more proficient, empowering our beliefs and establishing a positive momentum to continue the growth process.

To be trauma-informed means we are biocratic, prepared and trained, and are willing to implement the practices and principles of trauma-informed care. I recognize it may be hard to make such a significant set of changes in our systems, but if we are going to overcome the significant mental health challenges we’re facing in our schools, businesses, systems of care, and caregiving organizations, we must change our approaches.

That will help us be more effective in dealing with our clients, customers, staff, and all those we encounter as we do our respective jobs and missions. It’s truly an amazing and health-giving adventure that will bring new opportunities for healthy change.

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