Finding and Improving a Trauma-Informed Workplace Using Brain Science

Patricia D Wilcox, LCSW

Register for CE programs now

Friday, Sept 24, 2021
10 am – 12 pm
2 CECs

$40 – UConn SSW Alumni and Current Field Instructors
$50 – All Others

Webinar link will be emailed when your registration is complete.

Our growing awareness of the importance of trauma-informed care goes beyond clinical work with individuals. It includes the organization and practices of the whole agency system. Helpers cannot treat their clients any better than they themselves are treated. In addition, as we consider the high toll that working with trauma survivors can take on treaters, it is increasingly clear that self-care practices are not enough. In  this era of staff shortages and high turnover, the agency must take action to sustain the hope and energy of its workers. What are these actions?

When staff feel they are connected with each other and the agency, and are using and developing their best selves, they are calmer and more effective. Trauma-informed care means using the relationship as the primary vehicle of change. Staff cannot have open-hearted relationships with clients unless they feel safe and connected. We will share strategies for developing a protective social environment.

Participants will be able to:

  • Define a trauma-informed workplace and list five components.
  • Develop a list of questions to ask in a job interview to learn more about organizational practices.
  • Critique their current organization through a polyvagal and trauma-informed lens.
  • Appraise and discuss their own personal contributions to a culture to sustain employees and develop a plan for future action.
  • Utilize polyvagal theory to examine staff reactions to safety and danger and develop an action plan to increase staff connectedness and safety either as an employee or as a supervisor.

More details about the webinar:

This webinar will first address the process of seeking a job in an agency that takes care of its workers. What should the interviewee look for? What questions should they ask?

The webinar will then address the role of the individual employee in creating and enhancing a trauma-informed system. What can one person do? The new field of polyvagal theory will help participants understand how safety and danger affect their own behavior and that of their co-workers, including the role of implicit bias. A tool to develop insight into one’s own experiences of safety at work will be introduced. A sense of safety is greatly enhanced by connectedness. Participants will also examine how the racist climate influences our sense of safety and danger, and how self-awareness and specific strategies can help us bring anti-racism into our treatment. Other areas that have been shown to be essential for worker job satisfaction are voice and choice and a sense of purpose and efficacy. Participants will explore actions they personally can take to evaluate and improve these factors in their work settings.

The webinar will also address the role of supervisors and leaders in creating a sustaining workplace, including a checklist of possible action steps.