Green String Network developed the Trauma-Informed Social Transformation approach which draws on the fields of neurobiology, psychology, restorative justice, conflict transformation, peacebuilding, and spirituality. The approach expands practices related to trauma healing, justice, peacebuilding, spirituality and security and shows the importance of integrating these concepts into personal, community, structural and societal levels.
The approach examines how historical injustices and their present manifestations through the lens of trauma and identifies the mechanisms for the transmission of historical trauma: legacies and aftermaths. These are the beliefs and structures responsible for transmitting trauma responses and circumstances between generations.
Given the high level of reoccurring, protracted, and chronic violence globally the development of a trauma-informed social transformation approach towards dealing with the violence offers an opportunity for service providers and leaders to begin to working together to holistically address the larger issue of violence and its impact. Trauma-informed approaches include policies and practices which recognize the connections between violence, trauma, negative health outcomes and negative social behaviors. These approaches increase safety, control and resilience for people who are seeking services (i.e. social services, security, livelihoods, education) in relation to experiences of violence and/or have a history of experiencing violence.
Trauma-informed approaches require fundamental changes in how systems are designed, organizations function and practitioners engage with people. Trauma- informed social transformation is a lens used to address protracted violence which impacts individuals, communities, systems, and structures. The approach recognizes systems and structures should be supportive of recovery are often greatly damaged by conflict, and therefore often cannot provide the needed support to aid in the rebuilding process.
Trauma informed social transformation programming includes:
Understanding the physiological, emotional, cognitive, behavioral and spiritual impact of traumatic events (current or historic) on recipient populations, and how unaddressed trauma contributes to cycles of violence;
Going beyond traditional mental health diagnosis and symptoms of Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder as the measure of trauma impact, and also recognizing community and societal dynamics and behaviors are indicators of unaddressed trauma;
Identifying processes from multiple fields—human and economic security, conflict transformation, restorative justice, neurobiology, psychology and spirituality—which can address the effects of trauma and increase resilience; and
Recognizing that addressing the psychological needs of populations creates the need to monitor staff for secondary trauma and to equip them with self-care skills.
GSN’s fundamental approach creates safe spaces which foster real dialogue within fragmented communities. The approach confronts the past and injustices in safe and empowering settings increasing both self and collective awareness and resilience.
The GSN Trauma-Informed Resiliency (TIR) framework also helps reconstruct channels of communication among communities in conflict, allowing people to live harmoniously and empathize with each other’s experiences. If you are interested in the TIR framework, please see “What we Do” section for more information.
These social bonds create structures which help individuals and communities creatively find solutions and alternatives to present and future problems within themselves and in partnership with the local authorities and law enforcement.