Trauma has been defined as an event that overwhelms an individual's internal and external coping capacities; this traumatic event may be experienced directly or be witnessed (Bloom & Farragher, 2011; Levine, 2008). A trauma informed practice model is premised on several core assumptions: trauma has a predictable impact on social, psychological and emotional development; these impacts vary by cultural factors including gender and sexual identities, age, race, ethnicity and religion; acknowledging the trauma and providing a safe environment in which to heal are critical; professionals and others working with trauma survivors often experience secondary trauma; and stressors can re-trigger trauma well after the initial event (Curran, 2013). This approach, however, largely focuses on working with individuals and families; understanding and addressing how trauma impacts, for example, mental health issues such as depression, stress or anxiety.
This roundtable shifts attention to the community level by considering these questions: (1) how could a trauma-informed framework translate to community practice; (2) in what ways could collective actions, such as community organizing or mobilization, benefit from the lessons of trauma informed practice; and (3) how does one partner best with a traumatized community for the dual purposes of collective healing and growth, and community improvement, power building and social change? Following an overview of the basic principles of trauma informed practice, roundtable presenters will address these questions through research that focuses on: translating indigenous healing models into community reconciliation practices; analyzing gentrification's impact on community identity and sustainability; using community-based mediation as a framework for community justice; working with anchor institutions, such as foundations, to support improved community recovery and community-centered building; and understanding collective protest as a strategic means of reclaiming public space. By doing so, this roundtable advances the conference theme of ending family and community violence.
Roundtable discussion will center on how a trauma-responsive lens would inform, change and perhaps increase the efficacy of these interventions. Attention will be given to ascertaining themes across the presentations with the goal of inductively articulating a trauma informed community practice framework that could be implemented and assessed in future research. This roundtable also will provide opportunities for networking and identifying areas for future research collaboration on community violence, trauma and recovery among community practice scholars.