Safety: The Path to Increased Engagement

All of us have experienced trauma in some shape or form throughout our lives. This could mean a family member passing away, a relationship ending badly, the loss of a pet or other traumatic experience. Our journeys are filled with little and big bumps in the road. These “bumps” can change the way we take care of ourselves and interact with others.

Every day at Twin Oaks we help children and adults with histories of trauma and acknowledge the role trauma has played in their lives. Trauma can leave one feeling emotionally and physically unsafe, overwhelmed with distrust and fearful of rejection. To help move past these feelings, our number one priority is to engage individuals in the treatment process and provide a compassionate support system in a safe, comforting environment.

When a person feels emotionally and physically safe, they are better able to move toward recovery. The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health offers several tips that we use at Twin Oaks to enhance safety:

1. Understand emotional safety. Emotional safety means feeling accepted; it is the sense that one is safe from emotional attack or harm. It may be difficult for someone who has experienced trauma to find a day-to-day sense of calm and safety even after receiving care.

2. Provide a soothing place. When we provide a calming space, we are telling consumers we care about how they feel and are interested in what happens to them emotionally as well as physically. A soothing space may be as simple as a private room, comfortable chair or colorful mural on the wall to help restore a feeling of calmness.

3. Help manage feelings. Trauma may affect a person’s ability to find emotional balance. Survivors may experience a flood of feelings and worries that make it difficult to make decisions, follow plans and tend to responsibilities. Our job is to help activate and engage the thinking processes and work to identify achievable goals which can lead to greater safety and control.

By providing a safe environment for our consumers, they can focus on their wellness and recovery without fear. Once engaged, individuals can begin to participate effectively in their own care, reduce isolation and make healthy choices. Engagement with every consumer provides a hopeful path to success.

Thank you for your support in our continued efforts to break the cycle of disengagement and provide the highest quality clinical services to people facing mental illness in our community.

Respectfully,
Bob Pekar

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