The Sanctuary® Model is a blueprint for clinical and organisational change which, at its core, promotes safety and recovery from adversity through the active creation of a trauma-informed community. A recognition that trauma is pervasive in the experience of human beings forms the basis for the Sanctuary Model’s focus not only on the people who seek treatment, but equally on the people and systems who provide that treatment.
The Sanctuary Model originated in the Philadelphia area in the early 1980s, created by a team of clinicians working in a small inpatient adult hospital unit. This team, led by Dr. Sandra Bloom, combined their clinical knowledge with their own experiences to create a trauma-informed program they called Sanctuary.
Today, after over twenty years of adaptation built on its original design, the Sanctuary Model has reached across the human services system. In an effort to create safe and healing environments for children, families and adults who have experienced chronic stress and adversity, the Sanctuary Model is being used across a wide range of settings, including: residential homes, youth justice, drug and alcohol interventions, school and community-based programs, domestic violence and homeless shelters.
Creating Sanctuary in an organisation is not a textbook or manualised protocol, but an organic process that happens over the course of time to move an organization toward creating a trauma-informed culture. A trauma-informed organisation is one that recognizes the inherent vulnerability of all human beings to the effects of trauma and organizes system-wide interventions aimed at mitigating the negative effects of adversity and stress that are manifested in the clients served and the organisation itself.
Simply explained, the Sanctuary Model is comprised of three primary components:
-Theoretical philosophies which form the underpinnings of the model
-The trauma-informed shared language represented by the acronym S.E.L.F.
-A set of practical tools, known as the Sanctuary Tool Kit
Within community living we practice boundaries not barriers. Everybody within the community has a role supporting children and stewarding towards holistic wellbeing of all its members. Around each child there are adults who think and hold different parts of the child but who also work collectively as a community. Our therapeutic parents hold the child’s history and good enough safe parenting through role modelling, attentiveness and attunement to the child’s needs.
They very much deal with the here and now. Individual one to one Therapy support is offered on a weekly basis, where the children are offered opportunities to express and process their trauma, using emotional-distancing techniques – such as metaphor, embodiment, role, story and improvised play. This enables ‘stress / trauma memories’ to be disconnected from the stress response – therefore reducing Complex-PTSD, dissociation and dangerous forms of self-soothing and acting out their distress.
Therapeutic Life Story Work is offered on a bi-weekly basis, with the child and their Key Carer. This space provides support to the child’s development of a positive identity and making sense of their past. The care team are trained to facilitate emotional co-regulation and engagement in trauma resolution. They provide the children with verbal and non-verbal cues of safety, opportunities for social contribution and responsibility.
The therapeutic parents are available at times when children most need it. This may be during the times that children experience their loss, fear and despair most intensely, such as bedtimes; or at times of playful, social and physical activity – in order to support opportunities for developing confidence and competence beyond their ‘comfort zone’
For more information on Forge Care or for career opportunities...