Trauma Is a Reason, Not an Excuse

Joseph Benamati (bio) speaks out against the statement that trauma is an excuse for kids.

We've been told that Sanctuary is too touchy-feely. Sanctuary has no consequences. Sanctuary — the understanding of trauma is an excuse for kids.

And what we say to people is that trauma is not an excuse; it's a rationale; it's a reason. Just like a fever isn't an excuse to be sick. A fever is a warning sign that something's wrong. So we help them identify that, and then figure out what can they do, given the work that they're in, and the environment that they're in, so that they know that if, in fact, the kid is reacting to solitary, no one's saying that they can't then be safer and have a more protective environment for that kid, but maybe the clanging of the bars, the locking of the door, the turning the back of the staff, maybe those things aren't necessary.

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Excerpted from an interview at CBITS Summit 2012 in Santa Monica, CA.


More About "Self-Care"


More From Joseph Benamati (bio)

  • Sanctuary Self-Care Plan Sample

  • Sanctuary: A Trauma-Informed Organizational Change Model

  • SELF Strategy in Sanctuary

  • Self-Care Plans for All Staff Members