In my last post, I wrote about the fact that the vaccines for COVID-19 are now becoming available. That is good news – for what is called “the beginning of the end of the pandemic.” However, the truth is that recovering from this pandemic will be a significant journey for us all.
Since I am responsible for the staff of Lakeside I know that caring for others during the pandemic has taken a toll on our staff and on our organization. We tend to think that our systems and organization will automatically recover when things return to normal. However, what we know is this sense of isolation, the tragedies, the fear and other issues that have impacted us this year have left our staff depleted and traumatized.
It is important that we see organizations as living organisms. We tend to treat them like a machine that is supposed to function regardless of what goes on with its people. My friend, Dr. Sandra Bloom has frequently stated that what happens to clients in care happens to staff, and what happens to staff happens in organizations. If we are going to be intentional about healing our already-taxed organizations post-COVID-19 we must encourage and support that healing.
What I believe to be invaluable help is Dr. Bloom’s Creating PRESENCE program; trauma-responsive training and certification for organizations. Prior to COVID-19 Dr. Bloom felt a need to put together a comprehensive trauma-informed and trauma-responsive program for entire organizations. It is largely an online educational program that has tracks for each role within a typical system of care within an organization. It has a full introductory track for everyone in the organization so that everyone can share principles, concepts, approaches and skills about how we deal with internal organizational trauma.
In addition, there are tracks for specific roles for leadership, clinicians, indirect service staff and direct service staff. Each track will take individuals through the PRESENCE acronym that will discuss issues like how to use power, what restoration looks like, how we emerge and so much more.
The PRESENCE staff will coach an organization through the process with the specific goal to bring alignment, healing and hope to their organization. We know that staff who are caring for others are exhausted, anxiety-ridden and vicariously traumatized. This impact will not go away on its own.
Lakeside is helping Dr. Bloom manage this new and innovative trauma informed and trauma responsive program. It is our hope that our combined efforts will help organizations start a process of recovery through trauma-informed care for staff and the clients they serve. It will take a whole organizational approach involving every leader and staff member.
It is our hope that as we come back to some sense of normalcy we will be able to help our organizations recover through the Creating PRESENCE model of care!