The Karuna Center - Do No Harm

Building Trauma Literacy and Resilience

The collective trauma of a nation, a community, a family, a child, or a devastating environmental disaster asks us to show up in the best way we can, in a way that promotes peace and reconciliation, healing, and transformation, and, most importantly, does no additional harm. Working in social, environmental, political social impact spaces, we are often faced with situations where trauma is pervasive. It is important to build our trauma literacy, to understand trauma intellectually, and develop a sense of how to work with people who have experienced trauma, whether directly or vicariously as co-workers, volunteers, or in communities.    

Collective Responsibility 

  • Seek to ensure that our activities do not cause further traumatization or psychological harm to people already suffering the effects of conflict.
  • Recognize that we have an ethical responsibility to ensure they conduct their work in a trauma-sensitive manner.
  • Adapt, amplify, or even abandon some core tools and approaches when working with a specific group, culture, or community.
  • Be aware of hazards associated with classifying people as traumatized, without recognizing that individuals, groups, and communities respond to events and experiences in different ways and within political and social contexts.

Training Concepts and Tools

  • Focus on the intersection of trauma and social/environmental/political/community challenges.
  • Build trauma literacy, and understand the nature and expression of trauma.
  • Understand why ‘the brain matters’ as it relates to trauma.
  • Decrease barriers to engaging in social/environmental/political/community change efforts.
  • Discover ‘what helps’ when working with potentially traumatized individuals, groups, communities, and systems.
  • Support healing and restoration.
  • Restore hope, trust, and a sense of belonging.