Thursday, August 4, 2011

#PromotingWellness -- A Series of Outcomes : Trauma

Breakouts I missed (by attending other sessions scheduled at the same time) were "Trauma and Its Impacts" and "Facilitating Recovery through Trauma-Informed Practices and Trauma-Specific Interventions" sessions.

There are a series of  handouts copyrighted by Cathy Cave and Niki Miller from Services in Supportive Housing TA Center.

Because I cannot find a version of the slideshows already on the internet, I am not posting them here.

To my cohort (the one I'm debriefing with, she knows who she is ::grin::) -- DM me, I am currently checking Twitter about every 24 hours, and fortunately, through the CD given to all attendees I am able to look at their written material, which I feel important to pass onto you..  I consider the PowerPoints invaluable.

To everyone else reading this post, I am recommending you peruse the following informational material online currently available at HRC:

Avoiding Re-Traumatization and Fostering Recovery Among People Experiencing Homelessness

HRC's Homelessness and Traumatic Stress Training Package

Finding Your ACE Score

If you read on, know that the rest of this post is an expression of my story, not the work presented by any of those above.

"You should have known!"
"You should have said something."

Ever hear these phrases?

Imagine that you hear at least one of them.

How do you feel when you hear it?  What body parts do you notice a response to the phrase in?

My immediate mental knee-jerk reaction when I hear those phrases is:  "Exactly how am I supposed to have known? Exactly what should I have said?"  My immediate physical reactions vary widely.

The phrases are some I hear in the present, not only from well-intentioned people with whom I have established levels of trust (my trust of them) but also from people who are acting on their own agenda and are doing what I call 'shifting blame'.  I also heard the phrases ad infinitum in my past.

The phrases trigger (whether I want them to or not) intense feelings that can perhaps be understood if I express them with the new language I've been learning at the conference.
  • The phrases trigger intense feelings about being:
    • unseen and unheard -- silenced,
    • trapped, 
    • powerless,
    • unprotected and vulnerable,
    • threatened,
    • set up with no privacy boundaries,
    • blamed and shamed,
    • thrust into crazy-makingness,
    • betrayed, and 
    • isolated.

My personal belief is that no one escapes being faced with trauma.  My belief also extends to this: Some people have been around others who were skilled/talented in illustrating how to deal with trauma, and have learned adequate or superlative coping skills.  Some of us have not.  This is true not only of "consumers" but of providers.

Of course, the main reason I feel it's important is because it affects me.  And, being aware of the many things my comrades on the streets and in shelters have shared verbally with me -- trauma and re-traumatization is a common story.

Familiar with ACE? My ACE score is 7.  Why is that important and what does it mean?

It is important because as each of us finds our voice -- our words and language -- our expression grows.  And having words from the information surrounding ACE -- to share what's going on in me with others -- gives me a chance of being heard and perhaps understood.  Which gives my peers that same chance as well.

It means I am in a position to help bring awareness to this provocative information that can transform worldviews and bring about the end of homelessness (along with other social ills).

Personally it reaffirms my choice of advocacy.

So when someone uses a phrase that triggers me, I am offered a chance to grow, express and transform.  It's always possible to turn a circumstance into a constructive growth process.

Healing from trauma, like healing from a physical injury, is a natural human process. ~Mollica 2006

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