I just returned back from the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children’s annual Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly in Clinton Township, Michigan. I attended three days of workshops, as well as presented on the last day. My blogging practice over the last few years has been to post reflections, inspiration, and resources I learned and received from attending the Assembly as a way to debrief from the week, process the information, and share it with others:
I kicked off the Assembly with seasoned TLC workshop presenter Jean West who presented great content and considerations about developing a trauma informed community. What I found most valuable about this workshop was learning more about the parts of community collaboration in relationship to trauma work and informed care. From Jean’s lecture and handout, I was inspired to do some mindmapping to highlight important areas such as, but not limited to:
- Identifying what individuals, groups, organizations, etc. you need to get involved
- How to get them engaged to support trauma informed care
- Trauma Champions from your community that can be mobilized to advocate & educate
- Become a Trauma Champion: What can you do as an individual to contribute!
Check out this great Prezi I discovered by Sara Mink about How to Become a Trauma Champion when working with survivors of domestic violence:
I also attended Michele Thompson’s workshop, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to learn more about this approach and its tools related to mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy. In this workshop I took away a lot of resources to explore further and became very interested in the concept of Valued Living, developed by Kelly Wilson and Russ Harris:
Valued living is having a notion about what we want out of life and then making a commitment to ourselves to take action in service of those values. It is the most vital way in which we would choose to live. If we are to truly live a valued life, we will be forever moving in the direction of our values. Values are part of our journey, not a simple destination. Values are not specific goals with an end point, like a bike race or a triathlon. Values are a continuous way of living. (Center for Value Living)
An article co-written by Wilson about Valued Living and ACT can also be downloaded here.
Another TLC presenter I enjoy seeing every year is Kelly Warner and learning more about her trauma work with youth, especially in relationship to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Kelly’s workshop this year focused on interventions and ideas related to group work with adolescents. This included drawing, music, & journaling to explore topics about safety, trust, processing feelings & thoughts about their trauma experience, and strengthening self-awareness.
One of the small group exercises we did included a silent round robin activity with Play Doh where we each took turns creating & adding a symbol or making an addition to a group piece related to the theme of safety.
A helpful resource that I like to use in my group work with adolescents is this TLC program by Kelly: Teen Empowerment-A Structured Sensory Intervention Program for Teens Exposed to Domestic Violence.
Here’s some info about two awesome workshops facilitated by TLC Trauma Consultant Cherie Spehar:
Path to the Pen: Journaling through Soul Pain to Peace– I loved this workshop! Lots and lots of information about the benefits of writing with trauma informed care, including these resources:
- Kathleen Adams- The Ways of the Journal: A Journal Workbook for Healing
- Leia Francisco- Writing through Transition
- Linda Metcalf- Writing the Mind Alive: The Proprioceptive Method for Finding Your Authentic Voice
Secondary Victimization: Hurt by Others, Hurt by Self– Cherie’s secondary wounding workshop also included writing ideas to help trauma survivors cope with feelings of blame, minimization, other’s expectations about their experience, and the hurt and devaluing that surfaces from secondary wounding.
- Dialogue Letters: Between now self and then self, between trauma and self
- Forgiveness Letters: Forgiving a part, a person, or past choices & behaviors
- Wish Poems: Letting go of expectations, what could/should have been
Another good idea from Cherie to incorporate into writing & secondary wounding was the work of Virginia Satir (who I love!) and her 5 Freedoms of Becoming Fully Human. Identifying and writing about “My Personal Freedoms”as a prompt can to help survivor’s reclaim a sense of balance. Great idea!
Attending Laura Serazin’s workshop about her work with the Chardon Schools here in NE Ohio was really helpful to learn more about how making art, drumming, and other creative group interventions helped families and this community cope after the high school’s 2012 school shooting.
In small groups we created Safety Islands (from TLC’s Helping Children Feel Safe Program) which was one of the activities families and survivors engaged in during a workshop they attended at her agency.
And…on the last day of the Assembly, I was excited and honored to facilitate a morning workshop about my work with youth around the topic of peacemaking through creativity, as well as highlighting art’s role in peacemaking, conflict resolution, and social transformation.
It was nice to see some familiar faces, meet new ones, and connect with more like minded trauma specialists during this workshop!
During one of the hands-on activities, attendees participated in a sensory based drawing inspired by Vladmir Radunsky’s book “What does peace feel like?. Radunsky’s creative picture book challenges children to envision peace as one of the five senses. It was lots of fun and a great group experiential to share what peace looks, tastes, smells, sounds, or feels like with one another!
We also spent time creating Peace Flags focused around the theme of “Peace for me, Peace for us, Peace for everyone, and Peace for the world”, the core guidelines & values I try to cultivate in my Peacemaker Art Therapy groups.
What a great week! I look forward to next year’s Assembly which will be July 8-11, 2014!