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TRAUMA-INFORMED CHILD WELFARE PRACTICE SERIES

Building Resilience and Reducing Secondary Traumatic Stress for Child Welfare Staff: An Introduction for Supervisors

ACT 591 SERIES


C HAPTER 1

Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS)

I NTERACTIVE 1.1 SELF-Assessment: Indicators of Secondary Trauma in Child Welfare Work

Question 1 of 4 Do you, or does anyone on your staff, experience headaches, stomachaches, lethargy, hyper-arousal, increased fatigue or illness...

L EARNING O BJECTIVE 1.

Recognize the indicators of Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) in child welfare work.

Secondary Traumatic Stress results from working with individuals who have been traumatized. Like other first-responders (fireman, policeman, etc.), child welfare workers are at risk for Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS).

A. Yes, frequently B. Yes, occasionally C. No, this isn’t a problem

Check Answer


C HAPTER 2

Resilience L EARNING O BJECTIVE 1.

Understand the concept of resilience and characteristics of resilience.

Resilience characteristics can minimize the adverse affects of Secondary Traumatic Stress for child welfare workers. Resilient individuals are able to: • Confront tough situations. • Regulate their emotions. • Devise a plan, enact that plan and continue to interact effectively in the world. • Rebound from difficult situations.

Emotional regulation involves coping with negative emotions in a healthy, constructive way. A review of the research finds that healthy emotional regulation strategies combine:

optimistic beliefs about distress management, a sense of trust in others’ goodwill, and a sense of self-efficacy in dealing with threats. (Mikulincer et al., 2003, p. 83) with coping strategies of:

•acknowledging and displaying distress, •seeking support, •and engaging in instrumental problem solving.’ Lisa M. Diamond2,3 and Lisa G. Aspinwall. Emotion Regulation Across the Life Span: An Integrative Perspective Emphasizing Self-Regulation, Positive Affect, and Dyadic Processes. Motivation and Emotion, Vol. 27, No. 2, June 2003


C HAPTER 3

Strategies to Promote Resilience and Reduce Secondary Traumatic Stress in Child Welfare Work L EARNING O BJECTIVE 1.

Identify general strategies to promote resilience and reduce Secondary Traumatic Stress among child welfare workers.

Optimism Mastery Collaboration


S ECTION 1

Optimism W HY PROMOTE OPTIMISM IN CHILD WELFARE

In the field of child welfare, we often pay more attention to things that are going wrong than all of the things that are going well. With a hyper-focus on the shortcomings of our work, there is a strong tendency to feel uninspired and unenthusiastic. This in turn leads to feeling overwhelmed, pessimistic, and ultimately less resilient. The resilience intervention’s promotion of optimism is based on research indicating that individuals who retain hopefulness for the future are likely to have more favorable outcomes after exposure to traumatic stressors.

Optimism can be learned. When faced with work-related stressors, don’t waste time and energy thinking, “This always happens to me. I can never catch a break.” This kind of thinking leads to inaction, helplessness, resentment, avoidance and conflict in the workplace. Instead, respond by focusing your energy on areas of the situation that can be controlled. W AYS TO BUILD OPTIMISM IN THE CHILD WELFARE WORKPLACE : 1.

Help staff identify and build on their strengths,

2.

Teach staff to reframe situations to appraise them more positively,

3.

Help staff manage avoidance behavior,

4.

Teach staff to recognize and challenge self-defeating statements,

5.

Encourage your staff’s adaptive coping behaviors.

4


I NTERACTIVE 3.1 Affirmations to Build Optimism

I HAVE HOPE

GIVE I FOR

S

R OTHE

MY LAUGHTER AND MY TEARS HELP ME HEAL

I KEEP KIDS SAFE

What Are the Benefits of Optimism?

Another Benefit of I FORGIVE Optimism MYSELF

I AM

I ACCEPT WHAT I CANNOT CHANGE

I AM AN What is Optimism? ADVOCATE I BELIEVE IN MYSELF

Why Is Optimism Important in Child I’LL TRY Welfare Work? AGAIN

I LISTEN

RELAXED

I AM POSITIVE

I AM PART OF THE

SOLUTION


S ECTION 2

Mastery T WO TYPES OF M ASTERY

The first type involves doing one’s job efficiently and effectively. This includes knowing when (and when not) to act with a sense of urgency. Having mastery of job skills builds confidence and self-worth. The second involves regulating one’s negative emotional state. This includes being able to manage stress and recognize when you’ve done a good job. Having control over one’s negative feelings fosters a sense of calmness and collectedness.

Research indicates that people’s belief in their ability to manage work-related stress — principally through regulation of thought, emotions, and behavior — is related to self efficacy, or a belief in one’s ability to succeed in a particular situation. G AINING MASTERY HELPS AN INDIVIDUAL TO : 1.

Recognize their efficacy and value to the mission of child welfare.

2.

Develop coping strategies to manage conflict and stress.

3.

Gain a sense of control over work-related stressors and regulate 
 professional expectations and goals.

4.

Proactively problem-solve.

5.

Set achievable goals.

6.

Feel less overwhelmed and burnt out.

7.

Focus on work-related success, which in turn fosters a sense of control and increases confidence and selfesteem.

6


I NTERACTIVE 3.2 Self-Care Goals Question 1 of 6 Choose the Physical Self-Care strategy below that you want to implement in your work and personal life:

A. Eat and drink regularly

Think about a specific thing you can accomplish THIS MONTH to improve your care of self and sense of mastery in your work and personal life. Write it down where you will see it and really work on it until it becomes a habit!

B. Exercise C. Sleep well D. Take vacations E. Get regular medical care

Check Answer

7


S ECTION 3

Collaboration T HE IMPORTANCE OF COLLABORATION

The importance of collaboration is based on research indicating that social support is related to better emotional well-being and recovery following exposure to a traumatic event. Collaboration establishes a workplace atmosphere of positivity, support, teamwork and mutual respect.

Collaboration is a crucial concept given the impact of stress on people’s relationships.

When stressed, relationships begin to break down, and individuals either splinter off into smaller groups or isolate themselves. People often begin to see the world in terms of “us against them” or even worse, in terms of “me against you.”

C OLLABORATION AMONG STAFF : 1.

Increases opportunities for people to learn from each other about managing work-related stress.

2.

Provides opportunities for a wide range of social support activities including: Ø

Practical problem-solving

Ø

Emotional understanding and acceptance

Ø

Sharing of traumatic experiences

Ø

Normalization of reactions and experiences

Ø

Sharing coping strategies

8


I NTERACTIVE 3.3 Promote Collaboration and a Positive Work Environment

Question 1 of 3 Choose an individual collaboration strategy below that you want to implement in your office:

Think about a specific thing you can accomplish THIS MONTH to promote collaboration and a positive work environment. Write it down where you will see it and really work on it until it becomes a habit!

A. Get to know my workers better B. Give feedback in a more constructive, not overly critical, way C. Build confidence and support when a job is well-done.

Check Answer

9


Supervisor Training 2012