Educating and Training a Skilled Trauma-Informed Workforce: Specialized Trauma Fellowships
Graduate social work education must prepare students for competent trauma-informed practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities because social workers are the largest mental health profession treating trauma survivors. Standards for competent practice in response to trauma are an ethical obligation of the profession, as the likelihood of encountering trauma survivors in every practice setting is very high. Cleveland is in great need of social workers with clinical expertise to effectively assess, diagnose and treat children, youth, and families affected by trauma. The Trauma Center was created to respond to this need and, to that end, has developed a specialized program to train social work students and master’s-level social workers in trauma-informed and evidence-based skills necessary for effective trauma intervention.
By training a skilled trauma-informed workforce, many people in Cleveland will experience healing, reduced suffering, enhanced supportive relationships, and potentially reduce the intergenerational transmission of adversity. The Trauma Center will offer two specialized training opportunities.
Why Social Work?
Social workers are the largest mental health profession treating trauma survivors. Trauma affects children and families in specific ways. Social work practitioners’ interventions incorporate a holistic understanding of the effects of trauma on children, families, and all systems with which children and families may interact. They recognize that individuals can exhibit a wide and complex range of reactions to trauma and loss, which can impact attachment, behavior, social skills, the ability to learn, and–for parents/caregivers who’ve experienced their own traumas–the ability to parent confidently and competently. Social workers are cognizant of the fact that trauma has the potential to be passed down intergenerationally, and that danger and safety are core concerns in the lives of traumatized children and adults. Social work practitioners recognize how protective and promotive factors can reduce the adverse impact of trauma, not only for the child but also for the family and broader caregiving systems as well. In other words, social workers work directly with the caregivers and the child who is affected by the trauma in order to promote family resilience and empower the family to succeed and thrive.