Hosted by the Alaska Child Trauma Center at Anchorage Community Mental Health Services with the support of the State of Alaska’s Division of Behavioral Health and the Choose Respect Initiative
Section 1: Introduction and background information, organizational characteristics of trauma-informed care*
“Trauma-informed” refers to all of the ways in which a service system is influenced by having an understanding of trauma, and the ways in which it is modified to be responsive to the impact of traumatic stress. A program that is “trauma-informed” operates within a model or framework that incorporates an understanding of the ways in which trauma impacts an individual’s socio-emotional health. This framework should… decrease the risk of retraumatization, as well as contribute more generally to recovery from traumatic stress. (Harris & Fallot, 2001)
Trauma awareness: Trauma-informed systems incorporate an awareness of trauma into their work. This may include establishing a philosophical shift, with the overall system taking a different perspective on the meaning of symptoms and behaviors. Staff training, consultation, and supervision are important aspects of organizational change to incorporate trauma awareness. Practices within the agency should also reflect an awareness of the impact of trauma, including changes such as screening for trauma history and increasing access to trauma-specific services and staff self care to reduce the impact of vicarious trauma.
Emphasis on safety: Because trauma survivors are often sensitized to potential danger, trauma-informed service systems work towards building physical and emotional safety for consumers and providers. The system should be aware of potential triggers for consumers and strive to avoid retraumatization. Because interpersonal trauma often involves boundary violations and abuse of power, systems that are aware of trauma dynamics establish clear roles and boundaries developed within a collaborative decision-making process. Privacy, confidentiality, and mutual respect are also important aspects of developing an emotionally safe atmosphere. Diversity is accepted and respected within trauma-informed settings, including differences in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and so on.
Opportunities to rebuild control and empowerment: Because control is often taken away in traumatic situations, trauma-informed service settings emphasize the importance of choice and empowerment for consumers. They create predictable environments that allow consumers to re-build a sense of efficacy and personal control over their lives. This includes involving consumers in the design and evaluation of services.
Steps to building trauma-informed care within an organization:
Facilitate team building
Implement Evidence Based Practice
*Information adapted from the SAMHSA-funded Complex Trauma Treatment Network
Section 2: Application Instructions
Eligible applicants are organizations, not individuals: The focus of this training opportunity and learning community is to support development of trauma-informed care in organizations. Thus, the Alaskan Advanced Trauma Institute and Learning Community is open to organizational applications (applications from individual practitioners or clinicians will not be accepted.) Organizations that are grantees of the State of Alaska’s Division of Behavioral Health are eligible to apply.
The application should be submitted by organizational leadership, the Chief Executive Officer, or their designee. At the end of the application, the applicant will be asked to confirm that they have authority to apply on behalf of the organization.
Organizational teams: Selected applicant organizations will commit a team of 5-10 staff. The team will participate in the Institute and follow up consultation. Organizational teams should include at least one organizational leader/decision maker, one clinical supervisor, and clinical staff. Organizations may develop agency-wide teams, or choose to commit a team from a program or unit of the organization dedicated to trauma care.
Selection of applicants: If more applications are received than can be accommodated, the highest scoring applications will be selected. The State of Alaska’s Division of Behavioral Health has final decision making authority regarding scoring of applications and selection of applicant organizations.
Guidance for answering application questions: Many of these questions are complex – and are topics that will be addressed during the Institute and follow up consultation. It is OK, and expected, that most organizations will not have fully developed answers to all of these questions. The intent of this application is not to test an organization’s knowledge or expertise. Rather, the intent is to assess organizational commitment and readiness. Please answer the questions as best you can. It is estimated that this application should take 15-20 minutes to complete.
Timeline: Applications will be made available by December 20th, 2013. Applications are due January 15th, 2014. Successful applicant organizations will be notified on January 25th, 2014.
How to apply: The application can be accessed and completed online below.
If you have any questions or need assistance with the application, please contact Lucy Pedro, training coordinator at the Alaska Child Trauma Center at ACMHS at 907-762-2852 or firstname.lastname@example.org.