Observing Essential Ingredients at Work

In my new role as a trauma informed care clinical consultant, I have had the opportunity in a few days’ time to get my first real exposure to the staff and children of the Challenger unit in our Short Term Residential program. Being located on the same floor as the unit, which serves our youngest boys, I frequently see the children come and go to their therapy appointments. They always are accompanied by a staff member who is busy using that time, while walking and talking, to work on creating a healing relationship and a healing environment for the child.

Janice Brovet

I also at times end up hearing through a series of closed doors those same children when they are acting out on the unit. I think about how loud it is on the other side of the door, where those same staff members are now using their relationship skills to again help the child and to prevent harm.

I could describe this as an example of how the Seven Essential Ingredients become visible in our organization. I could say that the child and staff member are both experiencing the Impact of the child’s trauma. I could also say that the staff member is using their Relationship with a child as a buffer to prevent the experience from becoming another adverse event in the child’s life. I could say that this is where the real test of one’s Caregiver Capacity comes into play: the same staff member who got a high five from the child earlier in the day is now subject to their own traumatization by a child’s reactive behavior. In short, I could say that this is an excellent example of how staff members provide a trauma-informed care environment for the child.

But today what I would rather say is that this is an example of how staff members use their care, concern, and empathy for traumatized children by using themselves to create amazing, caring relationships with the children. I would rather say that this is an example of how staff members extend their personal selves and open themselves to trauma for the purpose of helping a child to heal.

I would rather say that these staff members are truly heroes, because they go the extra mile every day, to help children.

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