Volume 4 • Issue 6 • November 15, 2019
Uplift Family Services is a trauma-informed agency, providing whole person care through resilience-oriented, data-driven, culturally sensitive services. We believe in the power of staff investment, advocacy and collaboration as we partner with individuals, families, and communities to heal from the widespread impact of trauma.
Lionhearted Leaves the Den
Welcome to Lionhearted, the trauma-informed (TI) newsletter of Uplift Family Services. Born in the spring of 2018, Lionhearted has been issued regularly to managers throughout the agency as part of Uplift’s journey to become a fully TI organization.
My, how the cub has grown! Sporting brand new graphics, Lionhearted is taking its first steps beyond the den: a link will be distributed monthly to all Uplift staff and will appear as a regular feature on our website, bringing updates on TI initiatives within the agency as well as news from the TI community. We invite your feedback to help us make Lionhearted a rip-roaring success!
When people come to us for help, they are often dealing with stress at two levels: the acute stressors of day to day living and the consequences of stress from long ago. From toddlers to grandparents, many of our customers have experienced trauma, that is, stress so severe or persistent that it has had lasting negative consequences on their minds and bodies.
Given the kind of work we do, direct service staff, especially those of us with our own lived experience of trauma, face the risk of secondary trauma. This can have multiple undesirable consequences. It can interfere with our well-being, confidence and sleep. Often times we carry emotions in our body, unaware of what lies behind the physical discomfort. Secondary trauma also impacts relationships and job performance, as negative emotions intrude on our daily interactions with colleagues, family, friends and customers. It is an agency priority to prevent and address secondary trauma. One successful approach in Fresno has been the use of reflective supervision.
The heart of our work is relationships: our connections with customers, the community and one another. As a form of individual or group supervision, reflective supervision is consistent with this: a relationship-based approach offering a safe and secure “holding space.” This space offers an opportunity for mindfulness activities, attention to one’s thoughts and emotions, and the consideration of personal and situational factors that contribute to one’s experience. We can take a step back, slow down and be present. We can discover and explore thoughts, perceptions and feelings that are not typically spoken. It is not therapy, nor is not about problem solving, fixing, evaluating or judging how a situation or case was handled. Rather, it is an opportunity to be mindful of the impact our work is having on ourselves as human beings. Awareness of these dynamics makes them less likely to impede our ability to connect with others. In fact, it can help us do our work better. Awareness helps us to be gentle, forgiving and empathic toward ourselves, our workmates and those we serve.
Uplift Family Services Trauma-Informed Project
Business Owners: Mark Edelstein & Elena Judd
Project Manager: Laurel Mechling
Sponsor: Craig Wolfe