Along with many other groups of privilege I may (or may not) belong to, I don’t regularly consider myself to be a person who has been a victim to trauma… What is the impact of this self deselection? Someone who more often than not is not very mindful of victims of trauma.
This weekend in Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), the theme for our training was Trauma Informed Care. A sort of sensitivity training if you will.
Having any platform of leadership, so much responsibility and care must go into how we show up as leaders. To be our most impactful we must be inclusive and make everyone feel welcome. We must be strong and be able to hold our composure in order to support others who are in need. Most importantly we are charged with creating a space that is safe for everyone we wish to reach.
As I am writing this I can think back to times when I have been a part of a group where the leader has not done a good job considering these things and I can recall how it turned me off. I can recall how my perspective was not considered, I can recall how it turned me off to that person as a leader and it also turned me off to their message. Essentially that “leader” not being inclusive or sensitive to my needs shut me down.
I think it’s important to consider my own experience I’ve had with insensitive leaders, my own insensitivities and also to imagine how someone with a traumatic experience may feel when sensitivities to their trauma are not being considered. The potential impact of insensitivity to a victim of trauma could be; not only for them to shut down but it could also cause them to relive a traumatic experience and thus re-traumatize them! What is the potential impact of that re-traumatization? 1. The person shuts down. 2. A reversal of any healing progress they have already made. 3. The person becomes non-receptive to any future healing care. The potential impact we can see from just considering these three possible outcomes is HUGE . This is why we as leaders must be informed about trauma and let it not be a blind spot in our approach to healing.
The theme of Trauma Informed Care over this past weekend in YTT was deeply considered and clearly evident through our various exercises and activities. We were encouraged to be thoughtful about how to approach traumatized victims… We were challenged to find strength and get close and intimate with each other’s space through eye gazing and partner yoga.. There was a moratorium on crying and we were taught Motivational Interviewing; a technique based in partnership (empowerment) of the trauma victim which helps to disarm them and facilitates movement from the traumatized state to another state of desire… We even heard from a victim of a very traumatic event (Noris Henderson who was wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years) so that we could sit in empathy with his perspective. All tools that will help us as leaders to be trauma informed and sensitive to others. All tools that will enable us as leaders to create a safe space for everyone.