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What is Sanctuary? Shay Williams, M.Ed., LPC-S, LCCA.

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1 What is Sanctuary? Shay Williams, M.Ed., LPC-S, LCCA


3 In a nutshell…..Sanctuary is a treatment and organizational change model that integrates trauma theory with the creation of therapeutic communities which provide safety for both clients and the staff who work with them.

4 A perspective that asks: “what’s happened to you?” rather than “what’s wrong with you?” when organizing goals and assessing strengths and challenges A belief that adversity is an inherent part of human life, and that many of the behaviors that lead clients to care are directly related to those experiences – and that people and groups of people can heal from those experiences


6 Safety Emotions Loss Future

7 Traumatization occurs when both internal and external resources are inadequate to cope with external threat. Van der Kolk, 1989

8 A collaborative effort of Kaiser Permanente and The Centers for Disease Control Vincent J. Felitti, M.D. Robert F. Anda, M.D.

9 CHILDHOOD ADVERSITY BY CATEGORIES (18 years or younger) AbuseHousehold Psychological (by parents)Substance Abuse Physical (by parents)Mental Illness Sexual (anyone)Parental separation/divorce Emotional neglectMother Treated Violently Physical neglectImprisoned Household Member


11 These numbers may suggest that 2/3 of the U.S. population may have been exposed to at least one adverse childhood experience! These numbers may suggest that 2/3 of the people who come to us for services may have been exposed to at least one adverse childhood experience!


13 As the number of ACE increases the number of co-occurring or “co-morbid” conditions increases. As the number of violent experiences increases, the risks of victimization among women and perpetration by men also increase by about 60% to 70%. As the ACEs score increases the likelihood of revictimization – of being raped, of being assaulted - increases steadily

14 EarlyDeath DiseaseDisability Social Problems High Risk Behaviors Social, Emotional, Cognitive Problems Childhood Adversity

15 Out of 350 people working in social services Psychological abuse (Parents) 37% Physical abuse (parents) 29% Sexually abused 25% Emotional neglect 35% Physical neglect 12% Substance abuser in household 40% Separated from one/both parents 41% Witnessed DV 21% Imprisoned household member 10%

16 Most neural network development occurs after birth Genes just supply basic blueprint A young brain is extremely elastic – realigning neurons at a rate no adult brain can match

17 So by age 10 a child’s value system is already embedded in the child’s brain Bottom line: THE ENVIRONMENT PHYSICALLY CHANGES THE BRAIN Chronic Stress Crises Chronic Hyperarousal

18 Hypersensitivity to even minor threat Extremist thinking Respond to many things as threat to life – aggression and impulse control Attention to threat while ignoring less threatening, but important information

19 Interferes with normal emotional & cognitive development Emotional states too intense to handle Reinforced by helplessness and need for control

20 substance abuse violence self- mutilation risk taking Impaired parenting

21 Disruption in the normal integration of thoughts, feelings, memories, identity Normal life process – autopilot; Very efficient – let’s us do two things at once Important response to trauma State of shock – buffers and protects central nervous system Prevents death from overwhelming feelingsAmnesiaProlonged “shock” : Emotional numbing In extreme cases beginning in childhood – splits in personality

22 Dissociation Alexithymia – No words for feelings Haunted by the past: flashbacks, nightmares, body memories Traumatic Reenactment - Revictimization

23 “What’s Wrong With You?” to “What’s Happened To You?” We change the question from: recognizing symptoms as survival skills We create a trauma-sensitive culture Create a compassionate, trauma informed environment We give them a different experience

24 Community meetingsPsychoeducation GroupsRed Flag MeetingsSafety PlansSelf Care PlansTeam MeetingsTreatment Planning ConferenceProQol Scale

25 Thank You!!!

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