One of the current activities of Lakeside Global Institute is to conduct Trauma Summits for community professionals. In these community conferences we will be providing basic trauma training for those who deal with trauma-impacted individuals. We will also be creating opportunities for cross-professional dialogue about trauma-informed care. However one of the unique features of these summits will be a Life Simulation.
What is that you might ask? We have borrowed from models of Re-entry and Poverty life simulations to create one that is more comprehensive to all of life. It will include mental health, criminal justice, education, children’s issues, housing, job placement, drug and alcohol testing and some other life aspects. It is intended to reflect some of the difficulties individuals who need specific services endure when they are seeking help from our systems of care.
The idea behind the simulation is to place professionals who deliver services to clients at vantage points where they will experience the same frustrations as their clients. We condense a whole month into an hour of time with specific time slots allocated for each week. During that week tasks are given that must be completed like visiting your probation officer, getting rehabilitation, having to leave your job to go pick up your child, buying food on a limited income, getting an ID card, etc. Obstacles will be put in their way showing how the systems that are supposed to help work inefficiently, at best. The frustrations can rise easily but the key benefit is that we all gain awareness and empathy for those who are working diligently to get the needs of their family met. It is a bit of chaos that can be overwhelming, very similar to the issues that many families face.
We do not leave those experiencing the simulation at that level of frustration though. We then conduct a World Café Roundtable discussion that allows a time of reflection and sharing for what just happened. Often a new passion emerges to bring more order and a kinder tone to those who are working with trauma-impacted families. It gives us a better perspective on what issues they face and how hard it is to manage and survive with limited resources and a system that may not be attuned to their needs.
It is our hope that as we continue these simulations in the context of trauma-informed training that we can make a lasting impression on our professionals in order to create a better environment for those who need vital services for their lives and for their families. It is always interesting to see how people respond. I will probably share some of those experiences in future post as we create more of these life simulations.