In our training, we teach how we view the people in our world particularly in light of the prevalence of trauma. We use actual glasses to illustrate our point.
Each of us sees through a particular lens
Some people may have a rose-colored lens, meaning that everything is great. Some may have tunnel vision, and see the world through a very narrow lens. Some may have a distorted lens, which could give a completely false read on the world.
Our goal, however, is that everyone we train has a trauma lens as they encounter this need in their work and within their organizations that provide care for trauma-impacted individuals.
So what is an organizational trauma lens?
- We have in previous posts already established the fact there should be organization-wide trauma training so that everyone has at least a basic knowledge of what trauma is and what its impact can be in the lives of staff and clients.
- We also have established we are not asking of trauma-impacted individuals “What is wrong with you?” but rather “What happened to you?”
- Further, our presuppositions presume there is a reason for all behaviors, much of it rooted in trauma.
- We give permission for people to display behaviors safely and be able to communicate openly.
- We understand relationships are the primary healer of trauma, and that we should as an organization, know how to form safe and nurturing relationships.
- Our environment (facilities, counseling rooms, cafeteria, reception, etc.) need to be regulating.
- We know that our staff may experience their own vicarious trauma; and therefore, we will have sensitivity and be supportive of them.
- Our organizational policies and practices will be geared toward safety, strength-based leadership, resonance, mindfulness, hope, and compassion.
- We will be intentional in our language so as not to offend and/or show prejudice.
- We will live in humility and respect towards the struggle of trauma-impacted individual, and we will avoid labeling or shaming them.
- We are on alert and highly sensitive to symptoms of trauma-impacted people and have the capacity to bring a level of clarity and calm through communication and intervention strategies.
- We make a healthy trauma lens part of our organizational culture; meaning, we discuss it commend it, develop it, and reward it in our staff.
- We are willing to get feedback from our clients (without defensiveness) as to how we can be more trauma-focused in light of their experiences within our organizations.
I am sure there are many more ideas here but I think you probably get the picture.
An organizational trauma lens is observational, non-judgmental, careful, and supportive in its approach to those for whom they care who have experienced trauma.
It is not just some knowledge, or a set of skills, but a holistic approach that deeply cares about how trauma has impacted those we are in contact with. We also insist we not do anything to trigger them further into a dysregulated brain state.
Imagine if more organizations that help children and adults with trauma were committed to this kind of well-trained and skilled staff and environment.
Think about what capacity an organization could have if everyone had a well-developed trauma lens and worked in sync with clients and each other to make each experience within our organizations a safe, regulating and resonant one.
I believe with all of my being that the right training and a trauma lens would make a huge difference to those in our care. Let’s put on our trauma lenses and see their world with a sensitive and caring perspective.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside