Violence And Loss Organizational Response
Valor (English): great courage in the face of danger
Valor (Spanish): value and/or bravery
For any organization where people have experienced violence or sudden or traumatic loss, or for organizations or agencies located in urban neighborhoods where gun and/or other community violence occurs frequently, there is an increased probability that employees will experience violence, the death or injury of a client, or perhaps the death or injury of a colleague. The Wingspan Project’s VALOR program is designed to provide support for individuals and organizations experiencing such violence and loss.
Through the VALOR program, organizations can request one or more clinicians to arrive at an agency immediately after a traumatic event or loss. In addition, TWP can offer on-site psychotherapy and crisis intervention services for one or more days, providing individual or group intervention for employees. And for employees who might benefit from more extended support or who would like to receive support more confidentially, TWP can provide additional sessions for a pre-determined length of time, or linkages to clinicians through TWP network.
TWP can also provide employee workshops that address general self-care, meditation, mindfulness, and vicarious trauma. Because we are often taught to avoid feeling symptoms of compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and burnout, the primary objective of our workshops is to change that mentality. What if we considered that compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma are natural indicators of being invested in our work? The driving principle of our self-care workshops is to create a strengths-based reframing of these concepts.
We approach work around addressing compassion fatigue very relationally, since we believe that vicarious trauma's most insidious impact is on our relationships with others and our relationships with ourselves. In most instances, we incorporate some ideas about concrete skill-building, which we think is important to include as part of a self-care workshop series, though we find the effects of vicarious trauma are most powerfully healed through the kinds of work environments we create and the extent to which we feel connected to and supported by the people with whom we work. For these reasons, our workshops emphasize experiential activities and deepening connections.
Consistent with these beliefs, we seldom provide one-time self-care workshops as we believe an agency/program can’t adequately shift a belief system around self-care with a one-time training. Instead, we create a unique self-care plan with each organization or program interested in our services. This usually includes an initial conversation with agency-decision makers, a needs assessment with all involved staff, and a workshop series that can span anywhere from several workshops over 3-6 months, to a longer process of workshops coupled with individual employee coaching and support services.