I have the unique privilege to travel to many different counties to present to organizations the trauma responsive professional development courses that Lakeside offers for professionals who serve trauma-impacted individuals. I gave such a presentation today.
I talked for a time about brain regulation and neuroscience. In another part of the presentation I discussed vicarious trauma that professionals experience as they support their traumatized clients. Finally, I spoke about the extensive training in trauma that is available to their organizations and them as professionals.
Comments I received showed serious dedication to their clients. It also showed concern about their traumatized and fatigued colleagues.
The professionals who serve traumatized clients encounter diverse traumatic situations each day as they listen to the narratives of those they are attempting to help.
These professionals are passionate about bringing some level of healing to trauma victims; and yet, they recognize they, too, are in need of training and support in order to achieve their goals of those they serve.
Why do we require medical professionals who deal with human physiology to undergo extensive training and mentoring in their field of expertise?
Further, we require teachers to have both education and public school certification to be allowed to teach. We even have training and certification of automobile mechanics before we would ever let them work on our cars.
Yet, in a world with pervasive trauma, we still have a significant number of human service professionals who have not been trauma-informed.
Having professionals who are not trained in trauma-informed care serve trauma-impacted clients is inappropriate and dangerous.
It is essential we give our professionals the best training and professional development since they are dealing with others who have substantial, diverse, and extremely complicated emotional wounds.
Helping a trauma-impacted individual requires sophisticated knowledge, and yet, most of our professionals are not offered comprehensive trauma training.
As I completed my presentation today—which included the option of offering a year of training to help professionals become trauma-competent—I was encouraged by the enthusiasm of everyone in the room. It just made sense they should receive the best training our field has to offer because of the importance of the liability and the potential of their impact.
It is intuitively right that human service professionals should be trauma-informed and competent. Each needs trauma skills and tools in their professional tool bag.
So why can’t a human service professional receive this essential and vital trauma training?
Because already strained budgets lack funding for professional development. Many organizations whose staff serve trauma-impacted individuals do not have large budgets and are already over-committed because of limited resources. Many can hardly afford to pay staff, handle the administrative issues and provide the services are required by their clients. As a result, many clients have substantial trauma histories.
In order to provide help, hope, and healing to those they serve, these professionals need their trauma tool belts to be full of contextualized trauma tools. They need knowledge, skills, confidence, and support from their organizations in order to be effective in their caregiving roles.
At the end of my presentation they raised their hands and asked me, “What do we do as a small nonprofit if we need this training and have no resources?”
They want training! They need knowledge and skills! They are enthusiastic and dedicated to their healing mission!
Yet, there is no money to equip them to do their job effectively. This to me is extremely frustrating and exasperating.
I was enormously pleased with their positivity and attitude. Yet like them, I was frustrated that this is our world today.
We must find ways to change our systems of care and capacity for professional development so key individuals who are touching the delicate life-situations of so many people each day have the right tools and skills to bring healing to trauma and prevent it from occurring in our communities!
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO