I am so delighted to report that my book came out this week. It is entitled: Trauma-Informed Care: The Restorative Approach. This book is a practical guide to implementing trauma-informed care in all sorts of settings. The focus is on making our every day actions in treatment settings match what we know from brain science helps children heal.Chapter One introduces the trauma framework, a useful road map to understanding both the effects of trauma and how people can heal. Although we have considerable new information about what helps people heal from trauma, many programs serving the children who have experienced the most trauma have not yet incorporated this information into their treatment or their programs’ milieus.
In the following chapters I provide a specific treatment design using this new brain science as the blueprint for treatment programs for children. Chapter Two is an overview of the method, including its theoretical underpinnings, day-to-day operations, how it addresses shame, and answers to common questions and concerns.Chapters Three, Four, and Five use case examples to convey the specifics of the approach. Chapter Three focuses on demonstrating the daily workings of a trauma-informed treatment program. Chapter Four illustrates the power of how staff define and talk about the children and their behaviors. Chapter Five contains examples of the challenges of caring for traumatized children, and how the method works during hard times.
Chapter Six examines one of the most difficult decisions in implementing trauma-informed care: how to respond when the children hurt others. This chapter asks providers to consider their theory of change, and to operate from a theory of what will actually help the child be less likely to repeat this behavior. It introduces the restorative task, a response that incorporates opportunities for healing and for making amends, and gives examples of such tasks. Suggestions for improving tasks and how to respond if the child refuses the task are included.Chapter Seven focuses on the role of the clinician in trauma-informed care, the characteristics of a clinician who will succeed in this system, and necessary training. In the Restorative Approach, the clinician and the child-care team work closely together providing individual, group and family therapy as essential parts of the treatment program. Treatment planning reflects the therapist’s theories of what steps help a child heal. As in all best-practice programs, the therapist will need support and supervision in order to lead the team in a clinical approach to behavior.
Chapter Eight covers the importance of providing trauma-informed care for the families. Most of the parents of children in treatment are themselves trauma survivors, which presents unique challenges in parenting. The program helps them by being attentive to their need to feel safe and to build trust. A key component is to recognize and honor their strengths, and to provide opportunities for the family to have fun and joy together. The families can be educated in the restorative approach and experiment with using it themselves when the client is at home.Chapter Nine extends the restorative approach to foster care, describing how training in understanding trauma can help foster parents not to take behaviors personally and to keep the child despite behavioral problems. Formal training is important, and the support workers use of the theory to understand actual events will solidify the family’s understanding.
Chapter Ten looks at characteristics of the agency-as-a-whole that support trauma-informed care. The role of agency leadership is crucial in implementing this approach. The agency structure makes a big difference in the success of the Restorative Approach. Developing the necessary culture of connection takes time, but enables the approach to endure. The physical plant affects the experiences of both the clients and the staff.
Chapter Eleven, “Cultivating a Trauma-Sensitive Staff,” describes the processes that are essential to develop and maintain a good staff. Many agencies find that staff turnover decreases after the implementation of trauma-informed care. Hiring, training, supervision and promotion are all crucial tools. Certain skills that support a trauma-informed approach can be deliberately taught. Most crucial is attention to vicarious traumatization, the way the work affects staff and how they can take care of themselves and each other to stay alive and hopeful in the work.Chapter Twelve covers the actual change process, and what steps an agency can take to facilitate the change. A transformation committee is a good mechanism to lead the change. Later steps include changing policies and procedures to solidify the changes. John Kotter’s Stages of Change (1996) form a helpful guide to examine the process.
Chapter Thirteen concentrates on sustaining the change. Unfortunately there are many forces pushing the system back towards a punitive approach. Certain challenges can be predicted and addressed.Chapter Fourteen emphasizes measuring and celebrating progress. The chapter presents various factors to measure and scales to utilize in measuring them. Results garnered from these data can be shared with funders, the Board of Directors, consumers and other stakeholders. Celebrating success will help sustain the transformation.
The Appendices contain useful tools for agencies to employ.The books can be ordered from www.nearipress.org. Choose bookstore and then put my name, Wilcox, in the search engine.
If you do read the book, PLEASE email me (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and let me know what you think of it. I hope you will find it to be a valuable resource to you in implementing and sustaining trauma-informed care.