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I Saw the Future on Monday…and It’s Pretty Freaking Cool!

Posted on October 14, 2016

A beautiful fall day in Pasadena, California. A room packed with people from schools, libraries, health clinics, art program, hospitals, mental health practices, and government. A woman, Mary Donnelly-Crocker, stands up and welcomes everyone 20161009_150612to, “The first step in a journey to change Pasadena and the world.”

As I took the floor to present my Trauma Informed Training, I felt something very different with this group. They wanted the information and seemed to enjoy my passion, but the day was more than just teaching. I felt more like a coach than teacher. A coach whose team was prepared to go on the field, with the team just needing a little direction to win the game.

Over the last several months, I have watched in awe of how trauma science has evolved into a movement. While much of my work involves continuing to introduce this concept to different communities, organizations, and systems, more and more people have moved from contemplation into preparation and action. Having learned about the power of the science, they can no longer tolerate the status quo, and are moving towards community integration.

I can’t believe how lucky we are to be alive at a time when science is transforming the very foundations of psychology, education, and public health. This transformation is saving lives, and providing a language to help all of us understand the needs of those in our communities that have historically (and presently, in most cases) been stigmatized and judged as unworthy of both our resources and our love.

As humankind walks into the era of modern neuroscience, we look upon ourselves with new eyes. Eyes opened by a science that tells our story in a new light. A light that shines hope into the darkness, and that shows that everyone can thrive, if we only care enough to provide the right mix of resources and support. It is when this understanding connects with people’s passion that transformation of entire communities and countries can happen.

20161009_183112If I’m connecting the dots correctly, it seems like the work is shifting from creating trauma informed organizations out to a focus on larger systems and communities. This pushes us all to think forward, beyond our own walls. We must continue to hold on to the goal of creating the best healing organizations we possibly can, while also taking on the larger challenge of working to transplant our expertise and experience into the systems and communities in which our work is delivered.

When our own house is in good shape, we must venture out into our worlds and bring our message of hope to our communities. There will be resistance, hesitation, and roadblocks but many of us had to overcome this in our own journey to this paradigm. The science is becoming too great to ignore, and even if someone isn’t ready to hear us the first time, we plant a small seed. With time and support, we know that this seed will blossom into something beautiful.

By some great chance I was lucky enough to be a part of this blossoming in Pasadena. My question to you is, what are you doing (or thinking about doing) to bring your knowledge of trauma into your larger community?

3 responses to “I Saw the Future on Monday…and It’s Pretty Freaking Cool!”

  1. Naomi Silva says:

    This post put into words everything I have been feeling recently. I work with those who are homeless in downtown San Diego and my focus is moving toward policy change to help this vision you describe become reality. Although the work ahead is daunting, lately I find myself infused with hope that something has shifted. I have been in the healthcare profession over 20 years and I feel very privileged to be a part of how we are transforming. Of course yourself and so many others have been catalysts in this movement toward truly patient centered care and wellness. Thank you!

  2. Philip J. Malebranche says:

    The changes that you say are afoot are taking place ion the context of the election cycle. The pace of change will depend on the result of the election. Trauma-informed care will be more, or less, difficult, depending on the outcome. Some wish to increase the level of trauma society-wide. The drama is on. My effort as a writer to seek truth continues. Truth, I repeat, helps ease the pain we’ve known. That would be my contribution.

  3. Philip J. Malebranche says:

    The changes that you say are afoot are taking place ion the context of the election cycle. The pace of change will depend on the result of the election. Trauma-informed care will be more, or less, difficult, depending on the outcome. Some wish to increase the level of trauma society-wide. The drama is on. My effort as a writer to seek truth continues. Truth, I repeat, helps ease the pain we’ve known. That would be my contribution.

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