Let’s Start with Hope

Trauma is a difficult topic. In this module we are looking at heavy and complex issues that affect us both as individuals and as communities. Trauma can have a systemic component; supporting people who have experienced trauma must include both an individual and a systemic approach. This means recognizing the impact of both personal trauma and of harmful systems on the people we work with. We must intentionally avoid adding to the harm while we support individuals in any capacity (from one-to-one mental health focused peer support work, group work, academic/resource support, to working with international students).

As we look at trauma and healing, we must remember the mutual approach of peer support. We all come to the table with our own wounds. Together, we all get to support each other towards healing those wounds through connection. It is a community endeavour. We live within systems that are flawed and will continue to cause harm, but we also have a hand in changing them. Healing is a mutual and intentional practice. Peer support is a movement that changes systems!

Trauma is common. Creating a trauma-informed lens is one of the important steps we can take collectively towards creating safe ecosystems within campuses and workplaces that will support people to heal and flourish. This means we acknowledging the prevalence of trauma and doing everything needed to avoid retraumatizing people.

But that is just the beginning.

In order to create healing centered connections within peer support, we need:

  • Clarity of purpose
  • Mutuality
  • Grounding in core values
  • A clear strength-based direction for moving towards where we want to be.

Also essential to this work are:

  • Prioritizing building resilience in others
  • Acknowledging strengths
  • Addressing inequity
  • Cultivating hope and joy

The biggest message we want to share before we dig deeper into this topic is that healing is possible. Many people heal from their trauma. Experiencing healing-centered connections is a key element of the healing process. Besides relationships, there are many therapeutic supports that can support the healing process -with new modalities of healing being discovered all the time! Be encouraged by that.

In this module we will be talking about how a trauma-informed approach is an important starting point for healing. It is a set of principles that is recommended for every organization, campus, and business to embrace.

For Reflection

What are some things about which you need to feel safe and connected when you are with other people?


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Post-Secondary Peer Support Training Curriculum Copyright © 2022 by Jenn Cusick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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