July 2, 2015 \ Emma Freter
What is Trauma Sensitive Design? Pt. 2

Last week, we featured Lou Bergholz founder of Edgework Consulting who introduced us to the important topic of trauma sensitive design. This week we are picking up the conversation. Today we are delving a little deeper into the discussion of trauma sensitive design and how train staff to create a safe, secure and motivational environment for all children so that every child has the ability to reach their full potential.

Rachel: There are organizations that their mission and their cause is tied to working with specific populations that they know have experienced trauma. But then there are other organizations that might be working with youth, for example, who don’t have that thinking in their approach. How do you talk to them and convince them that it is something that’s worth them taking on?

Lou: Every school, every camp, every after school program, every organization that’s working with youth wants to build, as far as we’ve seen, wants to build safe space. And safe space is the most underlying foundation of doing trauma sensitive work. What’s great about a trauma sensitive approach is the underlying principles of it that have to do with safety, motivating kids to take educated risks in participation, giving them options and choices around how they take care of themselves, helping them self-regulate and be able to handle their behaviors and their emotions more effectively, that’s good for every kid.

So whether it’s a child who we know has a story and this story is one that involves some kind of series of events that have affected them and we’re gonna do that work with them or kid that seems to be on the outside, high functioning; there’s stuff going on with both. But either way this kind of approach builds up the capacity of an organization to have a stronger culture, to be able to work with kids longer than otherwise we might have to remove them from the program because we can’t handle them. It equips staff with the ability to be more empathetic and understanding and to take more time with kids and potentially to be able to make referrals and help these kids get more support versus just seeing the behavior. Now we see a child that is really doing the best they can with something that we may not know about but is more than what’s there.


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