Are you really trauma-informed?

So you say you are trauma-informed…

Let’s define what this means shall we? I mean it, please continue the conversation, and revisit what it means for you to be trauma-informed, and let’s chat about it, I would love to hear from you.

I’ll open the conversation by disclosing that I’ve received training and workshops on what it means to be trauma-informed for the past 15 years, participating in about 6ish seminars. They were led mostly by mental health workers and this lens was also included within my YTT(yoga teacher training). Within these seminars, I learned about the nervous system, how to respond if someone is triggered, trauma-informed language, behaviours to decondition within me that can impact a trauma-informed space, how trauma impacts the body and mind, alongside approaches for my practice, workshops, and yoga space.

The education I received offered a great foundation, and basic understanding. It was when I used the trauma-informed lens within real situations that I learned the most. Standing with integrity and humbled when a client was triggered and I needed to listen, reflect and shift approaches or systems within my work or behaviours. Yes, there were a few big AHA learning moments, some very uncomfortable, that’s ok, I’m human and we all have learning moments, and a few miss-steps as we learn to land within our values and what this looks like in action. Trauma-informed is a practice.

Ok, so before we unpack this a little further, I want to share a story of how I am no longer in a safe space with the trauma-informed somatic practitioner I loved to work with.

I had a groundbreaking session in 2021 with a practitioner who I had followed their work for a while on social media. I loved how they spoke of being in integrity, they were authentic with their struggles, openly discussing what is surfacing on their path and how they are supporting themselves through it. This for me, from what I experienced so far, was deeply safe.

When certain events within Turtle Island began unfolding in February 2022, it became very clear as to where folks were with systemic and social issues. The practitioner that I received great benefit from was no longer a safe space for me. We even shared discussions on the situation where they became very guarded and defensive. I was open and honest about how challenging it was to witness the violence that many were claiming did not exist (including this practitioner). I was holding space for folks who were impacted and realized I had taken on their pain and trauma.

Within my discussions with this trauma-informed practitioner, I was so confused as to how someone could be positioned as an expert on trauma-informed and yet in the face of trauma, dismiss the trauma that is happening within many communities and persons. It was within this moment that I realized, that when it comes to trauma-informed it is our worldview that has the greatest impact on what our version of being trauma-informed is. I began to ask myself, can we call it trauma-informed if we are not considering the experiences of all? If we are not dismantling within or denying our participation in any of the ‘isms’ are we not perpetuating the trauma that folks are experiencing?

So here I am asking myself the question, what is trauma-informed?

How do I communicate the spaces I hold?

How do I refine and contribute to the ecosystem that is the living breathing space of ‘being’ a trauma-informed practitioner?

It’s important to feel safe when you are asking someone to hold space with you as you work through your traumas.

Yet safe space is an interesting concept.

Is a space ever truly safe?

What is safe for me may feel triggering and unsafe for you.

What we need to become clear with is what a safe space means for us as an individual, and as folks who claim to be trauma-informed or safe spaces we need to be crystal f**king clear on what our values are and what safe space is for us, and the space we hold within the work we do.

A few things I’ve learned so far within digging deeper into my triggers and recent experiences around trauma-informed…

What I am inviting myself into ACCEPT:

*That I am not a safe space for everyone I meet.

*I am going to continue to be cancelled by those who do not share my view on the intersection of the ‘isms’ within a trauma-informed space.

*Because of the way in which I have been socialized this is triggering to folks, even though I am working on unlearning and relearning. (yes I will say dumb shit sometimes/foot in mouth)

*Cannot expect others to assimilate to what trauma-informed is for me.

Let’s continue to cultivate within the ecosystem of trauma-informed approach or lens…

It’s important that we listen to each other and what being trauma-informed is for us.

Learn from professionals who have been studying this field for many many years. Folks from a variety of backgrounds/identifications/worldviews.

As practitioners let’s get into the habit of sharing what worldview our trauma-informed lens we are peering through.

How can we become better communicators of what being trauma-informed means for us so that folks we work with can then use discernment as to if we are the right person for them?

Encourage clients to ask questions about your worldview…

I’m curious, what other ways would you nurture the ecosystem of a trauma-informed space?

Share in the comments below or send me an email

Hi, I’m Natalie.

Spending as much time as possible with the forest and ocean that surrounds me, talking to the trees and animals.

The spaces I offer as an Embodiment Guide are trauma-informed, unlearning oppressive systems and decolonizing spiritual practices. The invitation of our time together is for you to deepen your connection, and wisdom, embodying your medicine. Working with folks who are here on a path of healing, space holders, guides, and changemakers.

If you are curious about the work I do and would like to connect, you can:

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