Lora Friedrich, LCSW, PHD
Hi, my name is Lora Friedrich, and I’m a social worker who works as a therapist with Crosswinds Counseling. Today I just would like to spend a few minutes talking to you about trauma. The most conservative estimates are that about half of all Americans have at least one traumatic event sometime in their lifetime. And really the other evidence is that it might be as high as 70%. That means all of us are impacted by trauma, either directly or indirectly.
Trauma at base is really just when our internal resources aren’t adequate to deal with external stimuli. We become overwhelmed and our behavior becomes maybe unpredictable or unmanageable. Trauma affects us for the rest of our life in one way or another.
The Sanctuary Model of Trauma-Informed Care suggests that everybody needs a safety plan. Not just kids who are acting out or people who can identify what is going on with their mental health needs, but all of us have times when we need to recenter and refocus in order to have the most productive behavior. Safety Plans should be short and sweet. My safety plan is just 5 items long. So when I start to feel a triggered behavior or something that I haven’t resolved, I might watch the fish in my fish tank swim back and forth or go outside. The temperature helps me recenter and refocus. Your safety plan are things that are quick. Your go-to. Things that help you get back in the moment. Some people keep them on the back of their name badge. Some people keep them pinned in front of their desk, but they should be there so you can consult them easily. Using these tips will help you be resilient problem-solvers and they will help you model the behavior for the people you suggest use this safety plan.
Long-term, people are better off when they develop a self-care plan. A self-care plan tends to be future-oriented and not just in the moment. It intends to be broader. It includes things like professional, personal, organizational, and community development.
So just real quick to recap. Safety plans are a cool tool. They help us stay focused and resilient and to really manage our triggered and unrecognized behavior that trauma someplace has pinched at or provoked. Developing a safety plan keeps you safe. It keeps the people around you safe.