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Sara McCullough

By Sara McCullough

Self-Care in the Workplace: A Trauma-Informed Care Story

Tue, March 28, 2017

Hands with hearts

Ready to challenge herself, *Francine, a Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County employee, moved from her warehouse position to one behind the store register. Then the robbery happened. And just a few weeks later, a second robbery.

Following the robberies, store managers were concerned about Francine’s behavioral changes. Other employees who had been in the store during the incidents had moved on, but Francine still seemed to be struggling. One trauma-informed supervisor recognized Francine’s signs of distress from her trauma-informed care classes, supported by United Way and taught by Lakeside Global Institute.

“The lightbulb went off that she had more aggression and fear due to the robberies,” said Taylor Pierce, Family Resource Coordinator at Goodwill. Taylor offered to have a conversation with Francine and helped her create a self-care plan, a technique she learned from her trauma-training classes.

Francine wrote three things that make her feel better on a card, and kept it close for whenever her anxiety crept back up. Taylor also gave Francine the option to step away or sit quietly in the office if she needed a moment to collect her thoughts. Now, Francine is willing to get back behind the register.

That small intervention made a difference – not only to Francine, but to the entire store, which had been receptive to the trauma-informed approach. Now, Taylor wants to implement her trauma-informed plan throughout other Goodwill stores so employees and clients feel safe and appreciated.

Taylor sees funding United Way’s trauma-informed work as a pay-it-forward model: “When you invest in helping trauma-impacted individuals heal, you’ll see the whole community start to become better.”

She hopes continued funding will allow the trauma-informed classes to spread regionally, so that more community members can begin to address troubled children and adults not through the perspective of “What’s wrong with you?” but through the trauma-informed lens, “What happened to you?”

“To see how much United Way has been pushing this work throughout the region and providing the community with resources is amazing.”

For more on building a trauma-informed region, read parts 1 and 2 of our trauma-informed care mini-series.

*Name has been changed for privacy.