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Trauma Informed Educational Practice

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Drawing on extant literature, this page delves into the critical elements necessary for the successful implementation of TIEP within an institution by providing practical strategies for educators, administrators, and stakeholders committed to enhancing the educational experience through the lens of TIEP. We also highlight the interconnectedness of trauma-informed leadership and TIEP by offering guidance on how institutional leaders can create a safe, supportive environment, encourage camaraderie and trust, and engage in transparent two-way communication.


Administrators should build in time to support all phases of TIEP implementation (Mendez et al., 2023, p. 472)

The two most commonly cited challenges to collaborative planning, teaching and reflection are sufficient time and scheduling difficulties (Mofield, 2020).

These challenges could lead to scripted programs. which do not allow for students to explore and learn in the ways they desire and they are unable to become engaged in their learning experience (Pitcher et al., 2010)


Administration should provide necessary resources for training, including access to expert consultants (Mendez et al., 2023, p. 472)

Students, teachers, administrators, and staff of schools need collaborative skills for success in the education setting (Hoaglund et al., 2014).

Peer support training could be based on these resources: Preparing Preservice Teachers to Implement Class Wide Peer Tutoring and Peer Support Training

TIEP implementers need opportunities for faculty development on pedagogical practices that foster learner empowerment (Peterson, 2014).

Training on social justice principles is also important (Venet, 2021).

Everyone needs to develop their lens (Venet 2021).

Institutional Commitment

The willingness to collaborate needs to start at the administration level. (Reyes et al., 2012)

Empowerment requires intentionally supportive university and societal environments (Peterson, 2014).

Administrators should foster an institutional culture that promotes and advances diversity, equity and inclusion (Henshaw, 2002).

Cultural Development

TIEP implementation relies on a collaborative department culture (Murray, 2016) including

  • Predictability and consistency in decision making
  • Effective listening and asking questions
  • Cultivating emotional regulation and self-awareness
  • Creating and maintaining a climate in which the members of the unit trust each other
  • Understanding the impact of trust on issues of confidentiality and transparency (Bray et al., 2019)

Creating opportunity and policy for peer support to exist in all environments is to create antiracist policy, thus dismantling normalized systems of hierarchy/superiority currently alive in our institutions, systems, and communities (Hristić, 2020).

Students and faculty should work together to create policies (Armstrong, 2017).

Shift the systems: adopt restorative justice practices and a universal-design approach (Venet, 2021).

TIEP implementers should recognize the possibility of resistance to TIC principles (Mendez et al., 2023, p. 472) and prepare for difficult conversations.

Application of to Leadership

The success of TIC with patients and families has prompted its extension to the workforce through aligned leadership and supervision models. (Baugh et al., 2020, p. 1044) affirmed, “Burnout (in medicine) is primarily caused by workplace factors (e.g., unmanageable workloads, unreasonable time pressures) and therefore requires solutions at an organizational level”; enter trauma-informed leadership (TIL).Trauma-Informed leadership is the antidote for COT [collective occupational trauma](Fink-Samnick, 2021). The model has been associated with easing organizational burdens from practitioner burnout, high workforce turnover, and enhancing the quality of patient care (Knight & Borders, 2020National Council for Behavioral Health [NCBH], 2019; Oral et al., 2020Purtle, 2020).

Using this novel approach, managers are encouraged to step in and support staff in distinct ways. The approach shifts the long-held, “process and roll” culture of health care organizations to a more nurturing atmosphere. In this novel workforce culture, leadership and staff relationships are nourished with actionable efforts, partnering toward meaningful, reciprocal interactions that empower (staff) resilience (Fink-Samnick, 2021). Trauma-informed leadership provides a fresh approach to leadership, incorporating not only the day-to-day tasks of management but also relationship-based skills that empower staff faced with changing and challenging situations (NCBH, 2019).

To be successful in evolving change, leaders must embrace vulnerability, while creating a welcoming and supportive culture. In this way, the daily rigor of work and accompanying tough conversations are provided a foundation solidified by certain elements, as displayed in Ten Tactics to Implement Trauma-Informed Leadership on this page.

In the end, all successes are shared with the team, rather than just by the leader. This effort recognizes the mutuality of and reciprocity of work (Fink-Samnick, 2021; NCBH, 2019).

Ten Tactics to Implement Trauma-Informed Leadership

  1. Set a safe, nurturing, holding environment. 
  2. Foster interactional discussions vs. one-way mandates or reprimands.
  3. Build camaraderie and trust to embrace group efforts and dialogues, where input of staff is valued vs. discouraged. 
  4. Get beyond the "process and roll" mentality and recognize nobody has infinite strength or ability. 
  5. Be accountable for missteps, frustration, or unprofessional behavior; explain these actions to staff in a way that demonstrates your own humanity and vulnerability to stress. 
  6. Encourage staff to "Take 10" to emphasize commitment to staff health and mental health. 
  7. Engage in two-way communication that informs staff on the rationale for actions. 
  8. Stay visible and accessible.
  9. Recognize staff strengths and not just weaknesses to encourage and empower. 
  10. For virtual/remote roles, visibility matters; have "camera-on" meetings two to three times a week. 

Krantz, A. J. (2023). Trauma-informed behavioral health leadership and employee engagement at a child advocacy center.(Publication No. 30635113) [Doctoral dissertation, Walden University]. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
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