Like many passion projects, the idea for MN Trauma Project formed in response to frustration with the status quo, in this case specifically the state of the mental health system. After working in chemical dependency and eating disorder treatment settings, the impact and contribution of traumatic histories to the struggles of these client populations became increasingly clear. Sadly, while the relationship between trauma and a vast array of psychological issues is by now well documented in the research literature, the mental health field has increasingly moved towards a symptom focused treatment model that fails to acknowledge the trauma that so often precipitates and underlies those symptoms. In clinical intakes, client after client presented a story that became all too familiar - years of therapy or engagement in mental health treatment, sometimes cycling through multiple residential or psychiatric treatment placements, with no direct treatment of their histories of trauma and no acknowledgement of the role that trauma has played in their struggles with myriad mental health difficulties.
The heartbreaking stories of men and women silently suffering, frequently in life-threatening manner, because the providers they encountered lacked the training and knowledge to accurately identify and competently ease their suffering and help them heal from past trauma led to a resolve to increase the availability of trauma-competent care in the state of Minnesota.
It quickly became clear that the necessary starting point for such a project had to begin with increasing the availability of trauma-centric training in the state, allowing mental health providers easier access to workshops that will increase competency and comfort in working with trauma. Sadly, while workshops and conferences presenting cutting edge therapeutic approaches and models frequently occur on the East and West coasts, the options available in the Midwest are often few and far between. So, the initial efforts of MN Trauma Project will focus on bringing expert trauma teachers/trainers to MN. The hope is that these trauma workshops will begin to build a community of providers who treat trauma who can share resources and support one another in this essential work.