ROOTS OF OUR DESIGN
Having worked in intimate programs of less than 10 and sprawling agencies of 300+ employees and across systems (health care, criminal justice, behavioral health, and education), we noticed something. Not all providers from the same agency interact with the people they serve in the same style. Sometimes that is due to artistry. Artistry is great! Artists are typically the stars we want to clone. Other times, the contrast in style is due to a difference in values toward and beliefs of those being served. This variation within a given team can decrease a sense ofconsistency and safety for those being served. How can teams of service providers maintain (or increase) their artistry and get behind the same foundational philosophy?
It can appear to be potentially costly, time consuming, and seemingly unattainable to get the whole team – whether 10 or 1000 – onboard to a common values based service style. And then there are the curriculums – whether it’s math class, Thinking for a Change, AODA treatment, or coaching someone on their diet – can the underlying approach be the same? Turnover – how can it be sustained? Fidelity – how do we know we are doing it? Can all that training time and effort have relevance to any one of our 10 or more employees and satisfy our funder and contractual requirements? What about turnover? We have found that providers of any role type in any given human service arena, with adequate support and coaching, can maintain fidelity to the core elements of each of the Healing Focused Care practices given a well designed implementation plan. With the requisite fidelity the following practices maintain their applicability and impact outcomes.
TRAUMA INFORMED AWARENESS & WELLNESS
Our experiential training method results in systems, agencies and service providers discerning the impact of trauma and paths for healing and identifies the signs and symptoms of trauma on both providers and served persons. Alma trains providers and decision makers in organizations and systems to respond to this awareness by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices. The subsequent adoption of trauma informed skills and processes support both the provider and person being served to realize a Healing Focused Care service environment.
Where MI is embraced, human service providers have empirically shown to experience an increased sense of self-efficacy in their work. Research over 30 years including multiple clinical trials and meta studies in practically every service setting have shown the effects of an MI approach to result in sustained behavior change. In essence, MI is a trauma informed and culturally responsive communication style – collaborative rather than punitive, evoking rather than prescribing reasons for change, and provided in such a way to create an inspired sense of safety and acceptance between the provider and the person served.
Embracing Cultural Humility results in the service provider’s capacity to relate and work effectively across cultures.
The 4-principles of Cultural Humility are:
Individual Self-Reflection & Lifelong Learning
Served Person as Expert
Community as Expert
Institutional Reflection & Investment
Inarguably, it is impossible in our increasingly diverse service environments to learn about every given cultural nuance of a given person. In fact, doing so has shown an increase in stereotyping based on superficial qualities erroneously attributed to heritage and culture. The primary aim of Cultural Humility is to learn about a person’s self-identified heritage and how that informs their attitudes, beliefs, values, and behavior. This results in person-correct services while leveraging the inherent strengths and resilience of the served person.
Motivational Interviewing, Trauma Informed Awareness & Wellness, and Cultural Humility link at the values level as well as specific skill sets (i.e. skillful active listening) to form the foundation of Healing Focused Care. Where agencies select to embrace all practices simultaneously, our training utilizes a combined curriculum. This unique approach builds on the cost and time efficiencies of Alma’s implementation strategy.
Leaders of systems and organizations are realizing that the adoption of effective practices is not a destination but rather a journey. Initial training in Healing Focused Care is the first step in that journey, providing a platform for ongoing learning. Alma has designed a sustainable training approach that internalizes expertise within the organization over time. Through the development of internal practice Champions and the establishment of peer learning groups, agencies and systems realize increasing degrees of fidelity. Rather than traditional approaches where initial implementation of a given practice quickly falls into disuse requiring yet another subsequent costly implementation, by engaging the Alma implementation design initial implementations will be an investment that realizes cost-effectiveness year after year.
Alma provides support to institutions and programs to continue their journey to fidelity by providing the following:
Regional training offerings to address turnover
As experienced trainers we recognize the impact we have on service environments. Every service provider we train will touch hundreds and perhaps even thousands of served persons over the course of their career. We have formed the Alma Institute and designed Healing Focused Care to increase the self-efficacy and effectiveness of service providers and impact outcomes.
HEALING FOCUSED CARE
The Alma Institute trains and supports teams of providers from local, regional, and national service agencies and systems to embrace empirically proven practices that result in positive and healthy behavior change. Healing Focused Care leverages the natural alignment of Motivational Interviewing, Cultural Humility, and Trauma Informed Awareness & Wellness to target the natural resilience and strengths of served persons to heal while simultaneously providing service providers with the skills to maintain their own balance and self-care.