Becoming Trauma Informed: Understanding the ACE Study
With the increased awareness of the impact of stress, adversity, and trauma on people’s lives, criminal justice and behavioral health professionals are considering what this means in their specific settings. There is a growing evidence-base documenting the impact of child neglect and abuse (as well as other forms of traumatic stress) on the health, mental health, and behavior of men and women with justice involvement. While research and clinical experience indicate a high incidence of trauma and co-occurring problems, correctional and behavioral health professionals often struggle with the realities of providing effective management and services. This is particularly challenging when many institutions and agencies have staff members impacted by trauma in their personal and work lives. Many correctional agencies struggle with organizational stress and trauma, which creates additional challenges in the environment and culture of the workplace. Today the term “trauma informed” is common in many settings and yet often misunderstood. The process of moving from trauma informed to trauma responsive to implement trauma-informed care is also challenging to administrators and staff members. Examples of trauma-focused interventions are also provided.
About the Presenter
Stephanie S. Covington, Ph.D., LCSW, is an internationally recognized clinician, author, lecturer, and organizational consultant. With more than 35 years of experience, she is noted for her pioneering work in the design and implementation of gender-responsive and trauma-informed treatment services in public, private, and institutional settings. She is the author of numerous books, and ten research-based, manualized treatment curricula, including: Beyond Trauma: A Healing Journey for Women, Helping Women Recover: A Program for Treating Addiction, and Voices: A Program for Girls. She is the co-author of Helping Men Recover. For the past 25 years, Dr. Covington has helped institutions and programs in the criminal justice system develop effective gender-responsive and trauma-informed services. She has provided training and consulting services to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; the Ministries of Justice in England, Scotland, and Switzerland; the Correctional Service of Canada; and, in the United States., the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the National Institute of Corrections, and many state and local jurisdictions. She has conducted seminars for behavioral health professionals, community organizations, criminal justice professionals, and recovery groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Europe, Africa, Iceland, Brazil, and New Zealand. In addition, she helped design women’s services at the Betty Ford Center and was the featured therapist on the Oprah Winfrey Network TV show entitled Breaking Down the Bars. Educated at Columbia University and the Union Institute, she is the co-director of the Institute for Relational Development and the Center for Gender & Justice located in La Jolla, California.
To view a PDF version of the slide deck that was used during this presentation, click here.
Part 2 of this series (Becoming Trauma-Informed and Moving to Trauma-Responsive) is available by clicking here.
Part 3 of this series (Trauma-Specific Services—Programs that Work) is available by clicking here.