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Trauma Informed Practices

The Resilience Network of the Gorge (Resilience Network) has pulled together common language around trauma informed practices (TIPs). The goal of this effort is to create an inclusive environment where organizations and individuals can choose, from a list of trusted resources, the language they use to communicate about TIPs efforts recognizing the characteristics common throughout the language.

TIPs consist of a set of characteristics often referred to using language that may differ depending on the model or organization but communicates a common set of values:

  • Safety – physical, social, and psychological
  • Transparency and open communication
  • Social responsibility
  • Collaboration and social learning
  • Shared power and empowerment
  • Growth and change

The Resilience Network defines TIPs as a program, organization, system, or person that realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for resilience; recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system; responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.

The following is a summary of information available from trusted, expert organizations and journal articles.  Each title is hyperlinked to open a new page providing more information directly from the source.  As you look through this information, please choose whatever language helps you best engage with the TIPs effort.


Key principles of a trauma-informed approach:

  1. Safety
  2. Trustworthiness and transparency
  3. Peer support
  4. Collaboration and mutuality
  5. Empowerment, voice, and choice
  6. Cultural, historical, and gender issues

Trauma Informed Oregon*

  1. Agency Commitment and Endorsement. Agency leadership acknowledges that an understanding of the impact of trauma is central to effective service delivery and makes operational decisions accordingly
  2. Environment and Safety. There is demonstrated commitment to creating a welcoming environment and minimizing and/or responding to perceived challenges to safety
  3. Workforce Development. Human Resource policies and practices reflect a commitment to trauma informed care for staff and the population served
  4. Services and Service Delivery. Service delivery reflects a commitment to trauma informed practice
  5. Systems Change & Progress Monitoring: There is demonstrated commitment to planning, implementation and continuous improvement

The Sanctuary Model*

The Sanctuary Model functions as an operating system guiding every day work and long-term strategy for organizations. It provides principles, frameworks, and tools for decision making, how to treat others, planning and problem solving. The 7 Commitments are:

  1. Non-violence: Helping to build an environment that is physically, socially, and psychologically safe for staff and clients
  2. Open Communication: Helping to overcome barriers to healthy communication, learn conflict management, and practice shared power of information
  3. Social Learning: Helping to build an environment where creativity is safe and mistakes are expected, accepted, and learned from
  4. Social Responsibility: Helping to rebuild social connection skills and establish a sense of justice
  5. Emotional intelligence: Developing emotional awareness and management for internal and external interactions
  6. Democracy: Everyone has a voice within the authority structure
  7. Growth & Change: Accepting that growth and change are an inherent part of life, recognizing that all change, even positive, equals loss, and working towards an ideal future

Shelter from the Storm Article*

  1. Trauma awareness: Trauma-informed service providers incorporate an understanding of trauma into their work. This may involve altering staff perspectives, with providers understanding how various symptoms and behaviors represent adaptations to traumatic experiences. Staff training, consultation, and supervision are important aspects of organizational change towards TIC and organizational practices should be modified to incorporate awareness of the potentially devastating impact of trauma. For example, agencies may implement routine screening for histories of traumatic exposure, may conduct routine assessments of safety, and may develop strategies for increasing access to trauma- specific services. Dealing with vicarious trauma and self-care is also an essential ingredient of trauma- informed services. Many providers have experienced trauma themselves and may be triggered by client responses and behaviors.
  2. Emphasis on safety: Because trauma survivors often feel unsafe and may actually be in danger (e.g., victims of domestic violence), TIC works towards building physical and emotional safety for consumers and providers. Precautions should be taken to ensure the physical safety of all residents. In addition, the organization should be aware of potential triggers for consumers and strive to avoid retraumatization. Because interpersonal trauma often involves boundary violations and abuse of power, systems that are aware of trauma dynamics should establish clear roles and boundaries that are an outgrowth of collaborative decision-making.  Privacy, confidentiality, and mutual respect are also important aspects of developing an emotionally safe atmosphere. Additionally, cultural differences and diversity (e.g., gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation) must be addressed and respected within trauma-informed settings.
  3. Opportunities to rebuild control: Because control is often taken away in traumatic situations, and because homelessness itself is disempowering, trauma- informed homeless services emphasize the importance of choice for consumers. They create predictable environments that allow consumers to re- build a sense of efficacy and personal control over their lives. This includes involving consumers in the design and evaluation of services.
  4. Strengths-based approach: Finally, TIC is strengths-based, rather than deficit-oriented. These service settings assist consumers to identify their own strengths and develop coping skills. TIC service settings are focused on the future and utilize skills- building to further develop resiliency.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network*

Chadwick Trauma-Informed Systems Project – Trauma Systems Readiness Tool – for trauma informed child welfare systems. Please note, this tool must be downloaded from the link provided.

  1. Maximize physical and psychological safety for children and families 
  2. Identify trauma-related needs of children and families 
  3. Enhance child well-being and resilience 
  4. Enhance family well-being and resilience 
  5. Enhance the well-being and resilience of those working in the system 
  6. Partner with youth and families 
  7. Partner with agencies and systems that interact with children and families 

ECHO Parenting Education Standards*

*This information is not owned or produced by the Resilience Network of the Gorge. It is compiled and provided for your reference. To learn more, please refer direclty to the source provided via hyperlinks.