Trauma Informed Relationship-Based Recovery Reflection Tool

“Childhood trauma has the potential to interrupt the normal physical, physiological, emotional, mental and intellectual development, of children and can have wide-ranging, and often life-long implications for their health and wellbeing.” (Van der Kolk, 2007)

Children and young people can recover from adverse childhood experiences. However, this requires that the adults they live with and/or work with to commit themselves to a safe and trustworthy relationship. They require adults who can patiently repeat experiences of attunement while holding them in mind and respectfully valuing them as worthy.

Children and young people also need adults who can both co-regulate with them and teach them about feelings and their inner world. They also require adults who are well informed and who actively take care of themselves and who display resilience and have a sense of hope in the future.

Children and young people need to be connected to their culture and spiritual traditions and experience cultural pride.

What follows is a resource to help you reflect on your capacity to help children and young people recover from trauma and as Ghaye (2000) put it.

“Reflective practice offers us a way of trying to make sense of the uncertainty in our workplaces and the courage to work competently and ethically at the edge of order and chaos…” (p.7)

This activity can be undertaken on an individual or group basis.

Needed for Recovery

Reflect on how you meet this need?

What do you need to change?

SAFETY

Being a safe and trustworthy adult is the key to recovery for traumatised children and young people.

 

How do you demonstrate that you are safe and trustworthy?

CONNECTION

Traumatised children and young people need to be connected to culture and spiritual traditions and experience cultural pride.

 

 

What do you do to ensure that the children and young people you live or work with are connected to culture and experience cultural pride?

UNDERSTANDING

Behaviour is always a message about the internal world of the child or young person. Children and young people need the adults in their lives to understand this.

 

How do you remain curious about the children and young people behaviour and emotional expression?

CO-REGULATION

Traumatised children and young people can’t self-regulate until they attune to a trusted adult who can.

 

How do you demonstrate your availability to help children and young people co-regulate – how do you attune to the child or young person you live or work with?

 

MAKING SENSE OF THE INNER WORLD

Traumatised children and young people can’t make sense of the world of feelings and relationships until a trusted adult teaches them how to put words to their experience.

 

How do you teach the children and young people you live or work with to make sense and understand relationships and their internal world?

SELF AWARE ADULTS
Traumatised children and young people need adults who are self-aware, calm and able to remain consistent despite opposition.
 

How do you respect attempts to understand the meaning and function of the child or young person’s behaviour? How do you carefully and sensitively address the behaviours in the context of relationship-based practice?

 

HOPE

Traumatised children and young people need to experience hope in the future.

 

How do you demonstrate hope in the future for the children and young people you live or work with?

 

KNOWLEDGE

New research is emerging all the time and learning from it to develop practice and also builds your own resilience.

 

Are you committed to keep learning? How do you do this?

 

HEALTHY CARERS

Trauma is toxic, and secondary trauma can affect those who live and work with traumatised children and young people.

 

How effective are you at looking after yourself? What do you?

 

The adults who live or work with traumatised children and young people can either add to their difficulties or support their pathway to recovery. They can help them recover or they can confirm their negative beliefs about the world and people within it.

Reflective practice is ‘learning through and from experience towards gaining new insights of self and practice’ (Finlay, 2008).

Done well and effectively, reflective practice can be an enormously powerful tool to examine and transform your practice. Reflective practice develops your ability to understand how the child or young person’s experience life and helps you to better meet their needs. Reflective practice helps you to remain focussed on the sensitivities and needs of children and young people. That focus is who you live and work with. As a consequence, you increase the chance of them recovering and growing into healthy adults in their own right.

References
Finlay, L. (2008) Reflecting on Reflective Practice. The Open University
Ghaye, T. (2000) Into the reflective mode: bridging the stagnant moat. Reflective Practice 1(1) 5-9.