The Traumatic Stress Institute fosters the transformation of organizations and service systems to trauma-informed care (TIC) through the delivery of whole-system consultation, professional training, coaching, and research.

Action Steps You Can Take Now

Here are some tips for beginning the transformation to trauma informed care:

  1. Every time you talk about something a client has done, have someone review the client’s history.
  2. Any time someone wants to know what punishment they should apply to a given action, ask: how do we understand why he did that?
  3. Clinicians- think of a treatment theme for each client you are working with, a brief statement of the central focus of your work, such as “learning to trust adults” or “learning to handle disappointment without making things worse” or “learning to recognize emotions”. Communicate this to the team.
  4. Develop an individual crisis management plan with each client, noting what tends to upset them, how they show they are starting to get upset, what helps, what doesn’t help. Make these living documents, available to the whole team, used by all, and constantly revised.
  5. Discuss with both staff and clients what about your program makes them feel safe, what about the program makes them feel unsafe. What can you improve?
  6. Start some Client Leadership activities- a client council, youth-to-youth mentoring, older kids teaching younger, peer mentoring, clients sharing skills, etc.
  7. Use sensory interventions, such as rocking chairs, weighted garments, blankets and fur, soft music, aroma therapy
  8. Add yoga and meditation to your offerings
  9. Institute a program where the client engage in some social action to help others, such as collecting food for a food bank, or volunteering at a Senior Center.
  10. Start a discussion among staff about how people are feeling about the job and how the work is affecting them.
  11. Have a staff retreat including all disciplines during which you have fun and do team building activities.

Characteristics of a Resilient Treater

 Directions:  Rate how true the statement is for you.  Then pick the 2 highest scores and answer the question how you acquired this ability. For the 2 lowest scores, answer how you could build this capacity.



  1                                   2                                    3                                4                                 5

Not So Much Yet   So-So       Very True for Me


Characteristic Rating For 2 highest scores, how did you acquire this ability? For 2 lowest scores, what could you do to build this ability?
1.      I have a strong social support system.
2.      I look at the positive side of challenging situations.
3.      I have faith in myself to get through challenges.
4.      I am curious about situations and focus on new possibilities.
5.      I feel connected to my values and see meaning and purpose in what I do.
6.      I focus on the important things and don’t fight things I cannot control.
7.      I take responsibility for my physical self-care.
8.      I seek solutions for problems that arise and can live with uncertainty until a solution is found.
9.      I consider adversity a challenge, not a threat.
10.  I have a sense of humor about challenges.


Adapted from: The Resilience Alliance: Promoting Resilience and Reducing Secondary Trauma in Client Welfare Staff; ACS-NYU Clientren’s Trauma Institute, September 2001.

Characteristics adapted from: ­­

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4Resource Guide Four Self Efficacy