Since 2017, Origins has been a leader in the trauma-informed movement, working to support champions who are implementing this work across a range of organizations and sectors. Since that time, the movement has exploded, particularly in California, where the ACEs Aware initiative, led by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and the Office of the California Surgeon General (CA-OSG) has created even more opportunities for activation and expansion of this work. Through ACEs Aware, Origins has developed a practice paper in collaboration with Eisner Health and has provided Resilience Champion workshop series for both the Community Health Clinics of Los Angeles County (CCALAC), CommuniCare Health Centers, and Yolo County.
In 2024, we will be continuing to support Resilience Champions who are interested in integrating a trauma-informed approach in their organizations or communities. If you’re a graduate of the Resilience Champion Workshop Series, you can now join the Alumni Group, to connect with and learn from other champions leading this work. If you are just starting your trauma-informed journey, you can join The Basics, our introductory training that helps establish a shared language. If you’re ready to implement this approach in your organization or community or are curious about learning more about how that would look, we invite you to sign up for the Resilience Champion! Anyone who is using (or who wants to use) trauma-informed principles and practices can take a resilience-building approach to lead change can make a difference! We also offer group rates so be sure to email us if your group is interested in joining any of the workshops.
But what does it even mean to be a Resilience Champion?
I’m often asked the question “What exactly is a trauma-informed approach?” When I’m asked that question, a million terms rush through my brain: The ACE study, intergenerational trauma, compassion, brain architecture, integrated health, Decarte, nutrition, mind-body connection, epigenetics, and resilience. All of these terms start the creation of a word cloud in my mind’s eye. The name itself–”trauma-informed approach”–is received differently by different audiences. Even though I have spent over ten years swimming in both the research and practice of the stuff, explaining it flips my proverbial lid and thrusts me right into my own freeze response.
After some deep breaths, muscle clench-and-relaxes, and a swig of coffee, I have my thinking cap on again and am able to access an answer. At Origins, we define a trauma-informed approach as:
“Trauma-informed is a strengths-based approach to organizational culture that recognizes how stress affects people, promotes tools and practices to increase resilience, and encourages opportunities for safety and connection.
This approach starts with each of us.”
~Origins Training & Consulting, 2023
The concepts behind this approach are simple, but not easy. Over the years, we have worked with people who have concerns about their role within their organization and if they are leader-y enough or if they would know what to do next. To simplify and make our programs accessible to everyone, we developed a series of workshops that help support you in leading this work and are excited to be offering them to all of you!
In The Basics, a 2-hour live online workshop, we invite you and your colleagues to learn the language of the trauma-informed principles and practices so everyone can develop a culture centered on resilience-building together. You will learn more about the impacts of toxic stress on both clients and staff, while deepening your team’s understanding of ACEs, as well as the role of systemic and intergenerational adversity. Finally, you’ll learn more about the concept of resilience, identify how protective factors can help heal the impacts of trauma, and discuss how resilience can be built and sustained within an organization.
But once you have that awareness, what do you do about it? How can you apply these concepts to your setting?
The next step in your journey with Origins is The Resilience Champion Workshop Series. Enroll your action team (who will lead your implementation) in this six-workshop series to help translate and operationalize the key concepts of a trauma-informed approach in your unique organization. Together, you will develop a shared foundation, specific goals, and concrete steps to create and sustain a resilient culture.
Let’s look at one of these Resilience Champions. Jessica Flowers is the founder of A Creative Leap where she offers creative, responsive training approaches to support individuals and organizations. She previously served as the Program Director at Free Arts of Arizona, a nonprofit organization in Arizona delivering creative and therapeutic arts programs to children who have faced abuse, neglect and homelessness. Since its inception in 1993, resilience-building has been at the core of Free Arts’ programs and services but they didn’t always use those words. Jessica is a brilliant soul who I unknowingly introduced to ACEs during a training I provided for the community in Arizona. After she learned about ACEs science, she was able to put language to things that Free Arts was already doing and trained as many staff, volunteers, and professional teaching artists as possible on ACEs and the other concepts behind a trauma-informed approach. She explains why this made a difference for them: “For the first time we were speaking the same language as other people in our sector.” While they had been serving foster youth in the community, that shared language and communication gave them access to, as Jessica puts it, “live within that world and have a focus and a common language and a common goal.”
Jessica Flowers is one of the many Resilience Champions who have taken the language of a trauma-informed approach and applied it to the culture of their organization. No matter where you are at in your journey, you (and your team) can join in this new workshop series that builds off the concepts from The Basics and provides a forum to help you translate those concepts into practical application in your own unique setting. By the end of this course, you will walk away with concrete next steps to begin the process of integrating a trauma-informed and resilience-building approach into your setting.
We have updated The Resilience Champion Workshop Series and are excited to announce our next cohort starting on January 24, 2024.This 6-week virtual training program includes a weekly interactive workshop, activities to help apply the information, supporting materials, and additional resources for each of the following topics:
Week 1- Setting the Foundation and Defining Your Team
The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the series and establish the foundation for ongoing collaboration. As part of this workshop, we will work with the champion team to reflect on their “why”, create a shared language, and establish a team that includes voices of clients and staff throughout the process.
Week 2- Reflecting on Your Leadership Style
You don’t need a fancy title to be a leader. In this workshop, you will reflect on your leadership style and explore how to bring the principles of a trauma-informed approach to life. As part of this, you will identify your strengths and barriers around connecting, consider how to overcome those barriers, and practice skills to support your role as a resilience champion.
Week 3- Defining Your Values and Vision
The focus of this workshop is on the role of values in building a resilient culture and then using those values as a foundation for building a vision for integrating
Week 4- Exploring Your Strength and Needs
The focus of this workshop is on exploring the strengths and needs of your setting, considering different organizational domains, such as leadership capacity, services, clients, policies and procedures, and physical environment. The goal of this workshop is to identify a process to gather information about strengths, assets, what’s working well, and what your organization might do differently to best support staff and serve clients.
Week 5- Creating an Action Plan
The focus of this workshop is on using the needs identified in the previous workshop to define concrete goals for integrating a trauma-informed approach and supporting sustainable culture change. Participants will then translate those goals into an action plan through the process of brainstorming and prioritizing potential solutions.
Week 6- Capstone and Next Steps
The focus of this final workshop is on reflecting on the process of building a resilient culture and making it a reality. In this capstone workshop, participants will synthesize learnings and identify concrete next steps in the resilience-building journey.
Sharing a language allows for anyone in any sector to become a leader and to expand their reach into spaces that may have been previously inaccessible. In an effort to increase this shared language, The Basics is bundled into The Resilience Champion and is required before starting week one. By enrolling into The Resilience Champion Workshop Series, you will have access to both courses! You will receive a certificate of completion for both programs! Each week, you will learn skills and application of a trauma-informed approach, have access to peers who are on a similar journey, and receive support from Lori and me throughout the process.
Coming back to Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris’ mission to treat the root cause of so many problems, we can remember her words: “This is treatable. This is beatable. The single most important thing that we need today is the courage to look at this problem in the face and say, ‘this is real, and this is all of us.”