We currently do not have events scheduled. Here we share a previous event, offered in partnership with Here This Now.

Understanding and Initiating Trauma-Informed Systems Change

January 16-17, 2020
8:30 AM – 4:00 PM EDT

Most people working in schools and social services are saying things just got harder. Mental health issues, disruptive behaviors, and addiction are adding stressful new challenges for families and institutions already feeling overwhelmed. 

We try to address these issues one-by-one – by “referring out” – hoping a doctor or mental health professional can “fix” the person. Yet, this is keeps us in a reactive mode, investing in ever more treatments, interventions, and pills.  

Another way is possible. Groundbreaking scientific research has shown that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) are an underlying root cause of many of the health and social challenges we face. Communities and organizations who have adopted a “trauma-informed” approach have reduced rates of a host of health and social problems simultaneously. 

It means shifting from asking “what is wrong with this person?” to asking “what happened to this person?” We shift our focus beyond just individual adversity to a connected community response to complex interrelated challenges, such as addiction, affordable housing, and mental illness.

Leading this type of change takes a broader set of systems change skills. In this interactive workshop, you’ll learn skills to lead trauma-informed change, within organizations and systems, including:

  • The implications of the science of ACES, Polyvagal theory, and adverse community environments for how we work (e.g., revisiting long-held assumptions and paradigms)
  •  Personal and relational skills to work in trauma-informed ways
  •  Practical ways to build work cultures where people feel a sense of safety and belonging, meaningful participation, and agency 
  • Skills to guide change at a community/system scale, including working across disciplines and organizations to develop workable solutions
  • How to “see the system” including acknowledging how the history of a system or community has affected the current situation, such as the impact of historical inequities, racism, and traumatic events.

In hands-on exercises, you will have opportunities to apply what you are learning to your own context and identify actions for initiating change.  


This workshop will be of value to counselors, educators, social service workers, administrators, DCYF employees, juvenile justice workers, health care professionals, public safety professionals, youth workers, social change advocates, and anyone interested in how to apply trauma-informed approaches. We encourage people to come as a team with colleagues.


This workshop is co-facilitated by:

Emily Daniels, trauma-informed consultant and founder oHERE this NOW.  Emily has served thousands from around the country through professional development training, keynote addresses, conference presentations, coaching and consulting in the science and application of traumatology (the study of trauma) and trauma-informed care (as defined by SAMSHA principles).  

Beth Tener, of New Directions Collaborative, who has over 25 years of experience helping organizations collaborate and work in networked ways to tackle complex challenges and change systems. She has a huge tool box of methods for participatory process, systems thinking, and building collaborative networks. She’s passionate about creating work and educational cultures that allow participation, co-creation, equity, and experiences of how diversity can be a strength.