On December 8, 2008 the Trauma Research Education and Training Institute (TREATI) and the Traumatic Stress Institute sponsored the Third Annual Day of Learning of Sharing. This event is provided to Risking Connection® trainers to increase their skills and knowledge in training and helping to implement trauma informed care.
The theme of this years’ event was Visible Mending, a Japanese practice in which broken bowls are mended with gold, making the repaired bowl more beautiful and more valuable than the original, unbroken vessel. The parallels to both our work and our care of ourselves and each other are obvious.
The day was attended by eighteen agencies, including agencies from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Kentucky and New York. In addition to Risking Connection® trainers, agency executives, CEOs and managers were invited to learn more about implementing trauma informed care.
The day started with each agency presenting what they were most proud of regarding training and implementing Risking Connection® concepts. These included reductions in restraints and seclusions, reduction in staff turnover, changes in agency cultures, more emphasis on relationships, implementation of evidence-based trauma treatments, and better outcomes for children. It was very moving to hear the transformation that is taking place in our field resulting in better treatment of our children.
The morning featured a presentation from Roger Fallot, Ph.D. Dr. Fallot, Director of Research and Evaluation for Community Connections headquartered in Washington, D.C., consults nationally to agencies and mental health systems on the implementation of trauma-informed services. He is co-editor (with Maxine Harris) of Using Trauma Theory to Design Service Systems. Roger presented on transforming agency cultures to meet the needs of traumatized clients. He emphasized the importance of five core principles: Safety, Trustworthiness, Choice, Collaboration, and Empowerment. Roger then facilitated a discussion on what agencies could do to improve their practice in each of these areas.
After lunch Patricia D. Wilcox, LCSW, Vice President at Klingberg, Risking Connection® Faculty trainer and Executive Director of TREATI, presented on
Healing the Hurt Brain: How we can use our knowledge about trauma and the brain to make our treatment as effective as possible. She connected current knowledge about brain development and plasticity with the implications for effective treatment practices. Pat focused on the role of attuned relationships, safety, understanding shame, and developing emotional skills.
Steve Brown, PsyD. Director of the Traumatic Stress Institute and Risking Connection® Faculty trainer led the group in a wonderful Vicarious Traumatization exercise using the Visible Healing metaphor. Many participants commented that this exercise was helpful to them and would be valuable to bring back to their agencies.
The day ended with a closing ceremony which emphasized our connections to each other and to the web of people trying to implement trauma informed practice and change the world.