Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience

Background: STAR began as a response to the events of September 11th. Church World Service (CWS) partnered with Eastern Mennonite University’s (EMU) internationally-known Center for Justice and Peace building (CJP) to support religious caregivers in the aftermath. STAR conducted its first five-day seminar at EMU in February of 2002.

Objective: The STAR program aims to help participants understand if they are imposing destructive behaviors, due to past trauma. Additionally, through using the program, it is hoped that clinicians and service providers can better develop best practices and understand the need for trauma practices within the African American population.

Description: STAR assisted thousands of New Yorkers after the traumatic events of 9/11 and worked with community members, social workers, school personnel, and religious leaders in the region affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The curriculum is developed by internationally-renowned faculty and training staff of the CJP at EMU. The STAR framework draws on the fields of neurobiology, psychology, restorative justice, conflict transformation, peace building, and spirituality. STAR expands practices related to trauma, justice, peace building, spirituality and security and shows the importance of integrating these concepts on personal, community and societal levels.

STAR works with organizations to identify the best way to meet their needs: becoming a trauma-informed organization, doing trauma-sensitive programming, training staff as trainers, training affected civil society leaders directly, or designing a program to fit specific needs.

Results: Researchers have found that STAR participants experienced statistically significant increases in knowledge and attitudes related to trauma healing, justice and spirituality, along with significant decreases in psychological distress. Participants expressed the view that they would use STAR-related skills upon returning to their home communities. The follow-up surveys lent support to this view. They found significant increases in use of STAR-related skills up to five years post-STAR. Pre-STAR assessment of psychological distress found that many STAR participants came to the training with moderate to high levels of self-reported symptoms of depression and anxiety. When the same indicators were assessed at the end of the STAR week, statistically significant reductions in distress were reported. Reductions in indicators such as burnout and compassion fatigue were notable but not statistically significant. An important limitation of the study design was the absence of a control group (people who did not take the STAR seminar), which would have allowed changes to be attributed more directly to STAR.

Population of Focus: Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, White, Adults, Elderly, Transition aged

Setting: Substance abuse clinic, Urban, Workplace

Level of Intervention: Family, Individual

Resources/Qualifications Needed: STAR Practitioners, STAR Certified Trainers. STAR works with organizations to identify the best way to meet their needs: becoming a trauma-informed organization, doing trauma-sensitive programming, training staff as trainers, training affected civil society leaders directly, or designing a program to fit specific needs. Level I and Level II training allows participants to implement the STAR program. STAR Level I Training is a five-day evidence-based trauma awareness and resilience training program facilitated by faculty and staff of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. STAR brings together theory and practices from neurobiology, conflict transformation, human security, spirituality, and restorative justice to address the needs of trauma-impacted individuals and communities. STAR trainings are multi-cultural, multi-faith gatherings in which all are welcomed to use the language of their own cultures and faith traditions. The training combines lectures with experiential and interactive activities.

Additional Information:

Contact

David Glanzer, Gratuate Dean
cjp@emu.edu
540-432-4000
Eastern Mennonite University
1200 Park Road, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22802
http://www.emu.edu/cjp/star/