The Compassion Curve
Caring for ourselves and others in a COVID-19 worldEarly on, SaintA created an action plan to help staff, clients, and the community reduce the risk of COVID-19. On Friday, March 20, we closed our offices until further notice in efforts to flatten the curve (Services and business operations are still open).
At the same time that we set the lofty goal to help flatten the curve of transmission of COVID-19, we accelerated what we call the compassion curve.
Best Practice Put to Work (and Home)These are indeed unusual times, filled with the stress of remote work and school; anxiety over whether we are doing enough to protect our clients, ourselves and our loved ones; and the uncertainty of how long the danger will last. As we searched for answers and ways to make order of the chaos, along came our favorite framework.
SaintA’s Seven Essential Ingredients of Trauma Informed Care (7ei) is a practice model that stands the test of time. And you don’t need to be a clinician to implement it, model it for others or ultimately affect positive change.
It works for us in our work and personal lives. It is adaptive and relevant.
In this COVID-19 world, the 7ei can provide context and comfort. “The compassion curve represents how we engage the people we serve, act compassionately with each other and our families, and demonstrate compassion for the community,” said SaintA President and CEO Ann Leinfelder Grove as she first shared it with our own staff.
The SaintA Training Staff have created some useful resources to help you ground your well-being during this stressful time.
- The Compassion Curve is a good overview of the concept for anyone, especially caregivers.
- The Compassion Curve for Leaders focuses on how you can apply the Compassion Curve to be a more empathetic leader during this time.
About the Trauma Informed Care MovementSaintA is in the forefront of therapeutic practices called Trauma Informed Care that apply what neuroscience has taught us about how the brain develops, functions and recovers from trauma to help children overcome adverse experiences and thrive.
Read: How Brains are Built: The Core Story of Brain Development
This adversity can include abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, divorce, alcohol and/or drug abuse of a parent, incarceration of and mental illness in a parent. A seminal study of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) conducted in San Diego shows their effects are widespread and can last throughout — and even shorten — a life. An ACEs study conducted in Wisconsin had very similar outcomes.
As a result, all our services to children and families are based on Trauma Informed Care.
At SaintA, we believe there are Seven Esential Ingredients that can help us understand what Trauma Informed Care is, and how to implement it: Prevalence, Impact, Perspective Shift, Regulation, Relationship, Reason to Be, and Caregiver Capacity.
We are one of a handful of agencies nationwide certified through the Houston-based ChildTrauma Academy in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT™), and one of a select group of organizations worldwide with NMT™ Flagship status. NMT™ is a biologically informed way to assess when trauma occurred in development and create ways to mitigate its effects.
Assessment is critical, because the brain develops in stages, and knowing at what point in a child’s life trauma or maltreatment occurred — even in utero — can help determine what part of the brain was affected and therefore guide effective intervention. Buffering factors, such as a caring person in the child’s life, also are considered.
From this information, we can assess the child’s strengths and weaknesses and create interventions individualized to his or her needs to improve social, emotional, cognitive and physical functioning.
Helpful Resources — Trauma Informed Care
- Upcoming Trauma Informed Care Trainings
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study
- ChildTrauma Academy
- National Child Trauma Stress Network
- Trauma Sensitive Schools Toolkit
- Compassion Curve Tip Sheet – Supporting During Distance Learning