Combating Trauma with Loyola Students
When I stepped onto the Loyola University campus, I felt nostalgic. About 10 years ago, I entered the building to attend training for my role as an academic coach with Target New Tranistions (TNT). I recently entered the same building to attend the same training, except this time – I was there to train the academic coaches. For weeks prior, I designed a training workshop tailored to empower the academic coaches to implement their Saturday sessions in a trauma-informed manner.
I was thrilled and honored to be among 26 young adults eager to empower this year's incoming TNT freshmen cohort. Through experiential activities, we debunked the myth that trauma is acutely defined by a singular event, but is more about one’s ability to cope with chronic, often overwhelming stress. With our newfound trauma-lens, we explored the implementation of specific communication skills aimed to promote safety, healing, and thriving.
Why Communication Matters
The quality of our relationships and the messages we communicate matter more than we can ever imagine. Communication, both verbal and non-verbal, will either perpetuate or mitigate the negative impacts of trauma. Post-traumatic resiliency is best facilitated within the context of safe relationships. Especially given that most experiences of trauma are embedded in our day-to-day interactions, often exacerbated by what looks like micro-aggressions, or those intentional and non-intentional insults or slights. Like the TNT freshmen and academic coaches, we are each human despite our skin complexion, hair texture, eye color, or accent. Recognize your assumptions about others and reconsider how you communicate with people who are different from yourself.