Trauma Resilience Toolkit

Welcome to Exeter City Council’s Trauma Resilience Toolkit, which has been designed for people working in housing, homeless and related professions.

A Toolkit for Housing & Homelessness

Welcome to Exeter City Council’s Trauma Resilience Toolkit, which has been designed for people working in housing, homeless and related professions.

This toolkit has been commissioned by Exeter City Council Strategic Housing and Homelessness Team.

It has been developed by Live Well Exeter CIC. We are a Community Interest Company formed by mental health professionals to promote wellbeing in the region.

A note about Covid-19

We started working on this toolkit back in 2019 prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic and have attempted to consider the implications of this on yourselves and your clients. We know that working practices are radically changed and may continue to change over time. We recognise, and encourage all readers of this toolkit to also recognise, that the pandemic can be viewed through the lens of psychological trauma at an individual level, family level, community level and society.

As psychologists we encourage you to put your own, your team’s and your client’s wellbeing at the heart of everything you do.

How to use this toolkit

  • ‘Understanding Trauma’ will introduce you to child development and how trauma can begin even at the earliest of stages
  • ‘Trauma Informed Approaches’ will invite you to consider how trauma may be affecting your clients
  • The Toolkit will give you approaches to use and guidance on your own self care and wellbeing

Within these pages you will find information and resources to help you better understand how psychological trauma is so deeply connected to the lives of people who are or have been homeless, or present to you as at risk of homelessness.

Whilst there is plenty of science and a large and growing body of evidence on the underlying causes of trauma as well as its impacts, this has not yet been fully integrated into service delivery and direct work with vulnerable people.

Homelessness, however, is one of the few sectors that has begun to adopt a Trauma Informed Approach in the last five years or so. It is now starting to ripple out to other sectors but has a long journey to go. Considering the evidence on how to identify and work with trauma is so compelling it is difficult to understand the slow speed at which knowledge is translating into practice.

This Trauma Resillience Toolkit has been commissioned by Exeter City Council to compliment a range of training and Reflective Practice opportunities to support professionals, volunteers and services to make the leap into offering Trauma Informed Care, and beyond.

This work is likely to continue to develop and evolve as new evidence and practices emerge. In Exeter we want to contribute to this learning and to keep evolving our approaches to helping those clients that have experienced trauma. But also to be mindful of the impact of client trauma on our own wellbeing.

The following quote demonstrates four key considerations when adopting a trauma informed approach:

The Four Rs – An organisation that is trauma informed ‘REALISES‘ the widespread impact of trauma, stress and adversity, and understands potential paths for healing and recovery. The organisation ‘RECOGNISES‘ the signs & symptoms of trauma in staff, clients, & all others involved in the system. The organisation actively ‘RESISTS‘ re-traumatisation (trauma reducing vs trauma inducing). And, ‘RESPONDS‘ by fully & meaningfully integrating, embedding, & infusing knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, language, culture, practice and settings. (2014)

Dr Karen Treisman – Highly Specialised Clinical Psychologist