“The most important property of humankind is the capacity to form and maintain relationships. These relationships are absolutely necessary for any of us to survive, learn, work, love and procreate. Human relationships take many forms but the most intense, most pleasurable and most painful are those relationships with family, friends and loved ones.”— Dr. Bruce Perry, Bonding and Attachment in Maltreated Children
This. This is the reason why I truly believe Relationship is the most important of the Seven Essential Ingredients to Trauma Informed Care.
Obviously, Dr. Bruce Perry is a very wise man and has many years of experience studying brain development and bonding and attachment in young children, but I also believe Relationship is the simplest ingredient. We may not all naturally understand how the brain works, or what Perspective Shift or Reason to Be means, but certainly we all can identify one or two relationships in our lives. Whether they’re good or bad relationships is a different story (and perhaps a blog for a later date), but hopefully we can all recognize that we have some type of connection with other people. And the idea that human beings need relationships in order to SURVIVE each day, to LEARN each day, to WORK, to LOVE and even to procreate is essential to the work that we do at SaintA and in our entire community.
We need to understand the power of relationships and that we as professionals have a duty and obligation to sit down for a few minutes with the children and families we work with and listen to their story. Listen to what’s happened to them, their concerns, their fears. We have a responsibility to listen to how they’ve survived thus far. We need to put away our notebooks and our pens and focus on the relationships in front of us, rather than worrying about our agenda or the next meeting we need to get to this afternoon.
Why? Because, we can help be the buffer, we can help create resilience amongst the children and families we work with.
Relationships help us reach kids, parents and staff
Do you ever wonder why some staff have an easier time getting an upset child into their car after a family interaction session with their mom? Do you ever wonder how a staff member in the hallway at the Capitol office can calm down a 15 year old boy with just one or two words? Relationships.
Relationships are key to reaching “tough” children and mitigating those challenging experiences they have had. Relationship is key to having those difficult but honest conversations with a parent when they missed another parenting session or an IEP meeting at school. Relationship is key to getting a single-parent of six children to attend a Parent Café for 2.5 hours, on a school night, when they’re already feeling overwhelmed. Relationship is key when talking with a staff member about taking vacation time because they are feeling overwhelmed and need to take some time for themselves.
The value and importance of relationships is key to our work at SaintA. Our relationships with staff, children and families and the community is what makes coming to work each day so rewarding and helps us love the work that we do.
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Checkout the Rest of the 7ei Blog Series:
- When Adversity is Prevalent, Understanding is Key
- What Happens to Us, and When It Happens, Matters
- A Perspective Shift From the Inside Out
- Regulating the Brain, From the Stem Up
- Seeing Ourselves as a “Reason to Be”
- What Caregiver Capacity Means to Me
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