It’s been a super busy last couple of weeks and I am grateful within that time I was able to schedule in attending a day of the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children’s Annual Childhood Trauma Practitioner’s Assembly.
One of the workshops I attended was facilitated by Nora Stanger and focused on overcoming childhood trauma through reframing experiences, exploring & discovering life purpose, as well as the connection of foundational values and personal leadership in finding that calling. Check out Nora’s TEDx talk Embrace Your Past…. Define Your Future (8:39) to learn more about her powerful, inspiring story of post traumatic growth:
On reframing, Nora shared these four steps (also available here in handout form):
- Acknowledge and Apply Your Strengths- What personal strengths can you bring to the situation?
- Find & Use the Positives- Using your strengths, how can you make the situation better?
- Accept the Uncontrollable- What parts are not in your control? What are you willing to give up?
- Focus on the Controllable- What can you control (thoughts, feelings, actions)?
Reframing invites a different way of seeing the experience and challenges us to explore our beliefs about the situation and to change or reverse its meaning. This perspective can help us manage the experience better and from a strength-based and empowering mind set. I was super happy that this workshop also included shout outs to the pioneering positive psychology work of Dr. Martin Seligman and his site authentichappiness.org.
On life purpose, Nora discussed how looking beyond ourselves and situations helps discover, give voice, and action to the bigger meaning and calling of our existence, no matter what our past and circumstances. She cited the work of Dr. Bill Millard and his Life Calling Model, which outlines a series of values rooted in character, faith, and service connected to our strengths, passion, and experiences to explore life purpose. Foundational Values are at the core of our being and helps form the way we think about the world, ourselves, and others. Our values are the basis of our choices (Millard, 2012).
I was inspired by Nora’s content and these presented models not only in relationship to my work in trauma with survivors, but as another addition to covenant based caregiving that I learned about last month. More inspiration and awesome ideas for transforming this stuff into altered book form! Thank you Nora!
Also at the TLC Assembly, I was able to present a workshop on art journaling, trauma intervention, and self care, which was a nice way for attendees to end the week. This part lecture/part art-making workshop explored the use of art journaling as a safe, contained space for processing emotional expression, promoting self care, and sharing ones personal narrative and intentions related to trauma work. Content also included themes and the benefits of art journaling as a visual voice and means of trauma intervention with youth and women survivors. The group engaged in creating their own mini art journal with paper bags with mixed media to help identify and support their own professional self-care practices:
It was such a pleasure to work with this group! Thank you to everyone who attended!
You can check out all the photos from the Assembly’s great week via TLC here.