What is Trauma Informed Practice?
Family Life is a Trauma Informed agency – what this means is that we recognise that every person is individually wired to respond to stress in a particular way. That wiring starts happening in utero and is affected by external stressors and influences: good and bad. In this way we are all uniquely wired to respond differently to whatever challenges we face. For many people certain parts of the functioning brain gets switched on or off during stressful encounters. To support repair and growth, we have to learn how to change these responses so that healthy relationships can form and our communities can thrive.
Trauma Informed Practice helps people to recognise what they need and empowers them to manage stress.
Bring back the calm
Our practitioners know that what happens to us, and our responses to this, is not who we are. We work with our clients to assist them to understand this, and our strengths based approach helps our clients to empower themselves to utilise personal skills to manage stress. We change the fundamental responses to stress and stressful life situations and help to bring back the calm to individuals – in whatever ways work for them – and so help them overcome complex challenges they may be facing or will face in their future.
Practitioners can recognise how a child’s brain is mapped, what challenges and strengths they have. Interventions are designed to build on these strengths and ensure that individuals, children and families have systems of support around them. This is the Neurosequential Model of therapy which is a developmentally-informed, biologically-respectful approach to working with at-risk children and adults. Read more here.
Every aspect of Family Life is informed by these principles from our overarching values to the practical way we work alongside colleagues, community and clients. We respect the lived experiences of clients, communities and colleagues and empower their journey of healing. Family Life staff are participating in training and Family Life is working towards ‘site certification’ in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics developed by Dr Bruce Perry through The ChildTrauma Academy (CTA,) USA.
As an organisation we also have expanded our service expertise to include the Neurosequential Model of Education (NME) for assisting teachers and schools to understand the impact of trauma on a child’s development.
Margie* is a young mum who became a client of Family Life. She, and her young children, experienced devastating family violence. Family Life started supporting her and helping her repair from her trauma. Margie herself had experienced an abusive past. We helped Margie to understand her own response to stress, to understand and respond to her children’s behaviours, and to empower her to grow as a mum and as a woman. Margie was connected to the Keith Street Playtime Buddies playgroup as a way to integrate into her community and find practical and emotional support among peers. Margie is now studying law and is back at Keith Street Playtime Buddies, recognising that the community played an essential role in supporting , empowering and strengthening her and now she can in turn give back to others.