Reply To: Week 2 Homework Assignment (Trauma-Informed Care)

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Greta Garvey

Question 1
Services and Interventions are the guideline the agency that I work for is following in using a TIC approach. The assessments we use have a specific section to evaluate for current and past trauma. Providers are encouraged to ask clients to share only what they are comfortable sharing, especially during the assessment period. Clients are referred to Provider’s based on their needs, this includes the preference to work with a male or female provider. We have specific counselors at the agency who have additional training in trauma. As part of our CEU requirement for the agency each year we need to receive 4 hours of training specifically related to trauma. Individual supervision is readily available to all staff members, and group supervision takes place twice a month. The staff members are caring and work as a team to support one another. As the agency offers SUD and Mental Health counseling the ability to collaborate with one another is helpful to our clients, especially when addressing issues related to trauma.
In regards to Training and Workforce development our agency would benefit in offering additional support for providers who are experiencing secondary traumatic stress and who have trauma histories. Self-care is encouraged and suggestions are made during individual and group supervision, but specific trainings and resources would be helpful. Provider’s may not be aware of the negative effects of secondary trauma until they experience it.
Question 2
In reviewing the trauma-informed counselor competencies checklist the following areas are where I feel competent; understanding my client’s need for personal and physical safety, maintaining clear boundaries within the client/counselor relationship, and using a strengths-based approach. Some areas I would like to focus on learning more about is increasing competence in screening and assessment of substance use disorders, identifying training on Secondary Traumatic Stress reactions, and the impact trauma has on diverse cultures. Being able to have additional training and competency in substance use assessments will help me to incorporate integrated treatment for my client’s. In addition to recognizing signs of burnout, it would be helpful to have a better understanding of secondary traumatic stress reactions, and what to do when experiencing this in the moment with a client. Learning more about the different experiences of cultural reactions to trauma, and beliefs about treatment, will be helpful in increasing my ability to provide my clients with person centered, individualized treatment.
Question 3
As a young male clinical social worker Larry may not be taking into account the past trauma the female member of his group has experienced. “In addition, since addiction treatment services have traditionally been designed to address the needs of men, in order for a program to be truly trauma-informed, it must not only adopt an integrated treatment approach but also be re-designed to meet the needs of women survivors of trauma (Harris & Fallot, 2001, p. 57). In this situation the female group member had a negative reaction when she was confronted by a male facilitator. Larry’s approach does not align with a TIC approach which is person centered. Larry’s supervisor has addressed the needs regarding the approach to the group, but has not addressed the need for further training specifically regarding trauma, and a TIC. Larry may be experiencing a secondary traumatic stress reaction as he is comparing his recovery experience to the member in his group. If I were Larry’s supervisor I would focus more on TIC approach to treatment, and offer Larry further education and resources regarding the possibility for STS reactions in treatment. It may also be helpful to have a co-facilitator for the group until Larry has more of an understanding of TIC approach.