By The Canadian Press OTTAWA – U.S. President Barack Obama is passing a diplomatic torch of sorts to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his historic address
Building trauma related skills while incorporating how we can each balance our lives and the social work we do comes from a wide array of opportunities available to us to build our skills in working in trauma, how we support ourselves and each other doing this challenging work. I am striving to be better prepared now to continue learning how to assess trauma, how to encourage the steps of healing and how to provide ongoing after/care supports through a number of resources currently available or I can advocate to have created in the future.
Discovering my own experiences and journeys of trauma throughout my life, using the lessons trauma-informed practice can provide, has made the journey personal for me. I like that in addressing my own trauma related experiences I have from my past allows me to create stronger helping hands rather than being aloof or emotionally detached from myself. This allows me to experience the best outcomes in working as a social worker when I am able to experience or empathize with my clients. It’s more genuine, honest and real, to share our ‘human understandings’ with others to encourage, model or support others to try challenging their areas of concern, it builds less isolation and encourages the development of a social safety network to assist all of us build our lives into what our potential can offer.
When we attempt to integrate a trauma-informed practice process with our own personal journey, it makes us one with the process; allowing us to see ourselves interwoven with all humans experiencing trauma. Tosone, Nuttman-Shwartz, & Stephens (2012) talk about the relational nature of trauma (232), or shared trauma in large trauma events where both parties experienced similar events as in large weather related events and draw a clear line between this and a clinician self-disclosing their personal trauma experiences attempting to build empathy or rapport with a client. This can create a tension in the therapeutic relationship, as Tosone, et al. stated “…the clinician, whether or not disclosing her own childhood trauma, may mistakenly assume she understands the client’s reactions based on her own personal experience. It is incumbent upon the clinician to ensure that her selective self-disclosure is in service of the client’s best therapeutic interests, not personal need.” (233).
My own personal thoughts about trauma have over the past years been drawn to reflect on the citizens of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. These folks have experienced the most grievous form of trauma; unending civil war, misery and starvation where murder of young men and sexual violence is used to defeat one tribal group, as conquering armies have done throughout history. At a more global level, I don’t know what a whole nation can do to heal and survive the trauma they’ve experienced over the most recent years. Children growing up in war, orphaned, starving – all from their own countrymen. How does a nation heal? Nelson Mandela had a vision for a country torn by civil war to heal. It must start with political decisions to seek peace.
Tososne, C., Nuttman-Shwartz, O., & Stephens, T. (2012). Shared trauma: When the professional is personal. Clinical Social Work Journal, 40(2), 231-239.
(ANIMAL NEWS/SERVICE DOGS) Following the horrific nightclub shooting Saturday night, Chicago comfort dogs are headed to Orlando to help families & victims heal.
The second short film, following the film ReMoved continues Zoe’s story and is called Remember My Story. It also is worth a viewing by readers.
Foster care and adoption are a part of some children’s lives, the loss of their parents and each other once ReMoved from their home, then children separated from each other. ReMoved is a short film well done and worth a look.
Tonight attended the Calgary Premiere screening of the documentary “Swift Current”, a powerful conversation of child sexual abuse in organized hockey in Canada. Sheldon Kennedy went on to star in the NHL for three teams but carried the terrible memories and trauma of sexual abuse by Graham James, a Junior hockey coach while playing for the Swift Current Broncos as a teenager. http://www.swiftcurrentdoc.com/
Now, Sheldon Kennedy is a strong vocal advocate for standing up for children who are being abused, giving them a voice and inspiring people around the world to take action to stop child sexual abuse and get services and resources to children traumatized by child sexual abuse. See more about Sheldon Kennedy and the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Center in Calgary Alberta, Canada. http://www.sheldonkennedycac.ca/
Calgary Flames Foundation lead sponsor. http://calgaryflamesfoundation.com/
Children in the child welfare system comprise a group characterized by their exposure to trauma via experiences of maltreatment, under circumstances presenting multiple risk factors for traumatic stress. High rates of posttraumatic stress have been observed in this population. However, there is currently no standard for the universal screening of children in child welfare for trauma exposure and traumatic stress. The purpose of this study was to analyze the trauma experiences of a sample of maltreated children and examine whether child welfare workers are effective screeners of traumatic stress symptoms with children from their caseloads. Method: A sample of children (N= 131) with trauma screenings completed by their child welfare workers and clinical measures of traumatic stress symptoms based on self or caregiver report was analyzed. Descriptive and correlational analyses were conducted. Hypotheses were tested with a series of four hierarchical regression models to determine whether workers’ screening information regarding child age, trauma exposure history and symptoms of traumatic stress were predictive of outcomes on the clinical measures completed. Results: Findings from the analyses revealed complex trauma exposure histories and high rates of traumatic stress symptoms among this generally younger sample of maltreated children. Additionally, the models tested supported workers’ efficacy in screening for symptoms of total posttraumatic stress and specific trauma symptoms of intrusion and avoidance. Workers were less effective in screening for the traumatic stress symptoms associated with arousal. Implications: These findings support the importance of identifying the trauma recovery needs of maltreated children and the utility of child protection workers in assisting with the trauma screening process. Implications are provided for associated practices, policies and training efforts regarding the implementation of a trauma screening protocol in child welfare. This would serve as a critical pathway for creating trauma-informed systems that better address the needs of maltreated children and their families.