Sanctuary – What We Believe
The Sanctuary Model, developed by Dr. Sandra Bloom, is a guide to creating a therapeutic community and maintaining organizational culture. This model was originally designed in a hospital setting for traumatized adults and has been adapted for residential treatment, schools, group homes, foster care, juvenile justice, outpatient and community-based settings. Many of the children at The House of the Good Shepherd have had adverse childhood experiences leading to a high incidence of trauma, including sexual and physical abuse, severe neglect, loss, and/or witnessing of violence, terrorism and disasters. Sanctuary is a trauma-informed guide to treatment which we believe is the right model of care for our children.
Working with traumatized clients leads an agency to experience organizational trauma. The Sanctuary Model aims to redefine the culture of an agency to help our clients, maintain a healthy working environment, and underscore shared values and language. Sanctuary is based on Seven Commitments:
Nonviolence – developing safety skills
Emotional Intelligence– managing feelings
Open Communication – being honest and respectful
Shared Governance – making decisions in a democratic manner
Social Responsibility – working together
Inquiry and Social Learning – respecting and sharing ideas
Growth and Change – hope for the future.
We want to create a trauma-informed culture to help our clients heal. Sanctuary creates a safer work environment with more openness in supporting staff and solving problems. A Core Team receives input from the agency to guide Sanctuary implementation. This model provides resources to support treatment and offer training modules for everyone in the agency to develop skills. There are four steps to guide our work and help the children make progress: S.E.L.F.
S – Safety (physical, emotional, social, moral)
E – Emotion Management (handling feelings in a way that is not harmful to anyone)
L – Loss (safely grieve painful things like abuse, neglect and separation)
F – Future (looking ahead and making choices for the better)
SELF is Sanctuary language that gets everybody on the same page, using tools such as self care, S.E.L.F treatment planning conferences and S.E.L.F program evaluations. Other concrete tools of Sanctuary are: community meetings, safety plans, team meetings, psychoeducation and red flag reviews.
The House of the Good Shepherd received a three-year grant in April 2008 to implement the Sanctuary Model. As we approach Sanctuary certification, we are taking steps to ensure our agency fully embraces Sanctuary ideals. A program called Sanctuary in Action is a new initiative to highlight how programs are successfully applying Sanctuary components in everyday life. Updates of “catching Sanctuary in Action” are shared with the Core Team to offer illustrations and support other programs in Sanctuary practice. Several agency programs have developed a Sanctuary Implementation Team to refresh staff in their Sanctuary education.