Healthy Organizations: Beyond Individual Self-Care

This Measured Impact Webinar is part of the National Capacity Building project series of webinars. It was presented on August 24, 2016 and features Melba J. Nicholson Sullivan of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture and Craig Higson-Smith of the Center for Victims of Torture.


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Wednesday, 24 August 2016


Burnout, secondary trauma, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue may be intimately familiar to clinicians, but they can also intersect in ways that seriously impact organizations. Torture affects us all. How do you stay healthy while doing this work? What organizational mechanisms and policies should be in place to promote wellness? What tools are available to measure organizational health?

This is the first part of a two-part training exploring the theory of self-care and the concept of wellness at the personal, team, and organizational levels.
After the MIW, you will be able to:
  1. Articulate a way of thinking about organizational wellness and individual self-care.
  2. Define burnout, secondary traumatic stress, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue.
  3. Identify an approach to assessment of staff wellness at the organizational level and self-care at the individual level.
  4. Begin to develop wellness plans at the organizational, team, and individual levels.
  5. Effectively address self-care and staff-wellness dilemmas.

The experts in Session 1 give participants strategies for staff-care and will address assessment, interventions, and best practices for a culture of organizational wellness. You are encouraged to complete the ProQOL (Professional Quality of Life assessment) online.
In Session 2, which was not recorded for confidentiality, the experts in this e-consultation went in-depth on experiences of trauma and its impacts, as well as ways to proactively identify trauma-related staff issues and effective responses for them. Participants who completed the ProQOL got feedback on their scores. 


Self-Care Section in

The Professional Quality of Life Measure website: The website for the Professional Quality of Life Scale describes in detail what it is and how it may be used.  .PDFs of the ProQOL in several languages are avail on this site.

The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

The National Center for PTSD

David Baldwin's Trauma Information Pages

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Child Welfare Information Gateway


Aponte, H. & Carlsen, J.C. (2009). An instrument for person-of-the-therapist supervision. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy,  35(4), 395-405.

Berger, R. & Quiros, L. (2014). Supervision for Trauma-Informed Practice. Traumatology, 20 (4), 296-301.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1992). Ecological systems theory. In Vasta, Ross (Ed): Six theories of child development: Revised formulations and current issues. (pp. 187-249). London, England: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Etherington, K. (2009). Supervising helpers who work with the trauma of sexual abuse. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling (37), 179-194.

Fallot, R.D. & Harris, M. (2009). Creating cultures of trauma-informed care: A self-assessment and planning protocol. Washington, DC: Community Connections.

Harris, M. & Fallot, R.D. (2001).  Using trauma theory to design service systems. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco

Internal Family Systems,

Kondo, M. (2014). The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. New York: Random House.

Loewe, B (2012, May 15). An End to Self Care. Blogpost.

SAMHSA’s Trauma and Strategic Justic Initiative (July 2014).  SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidelines for a Trauma-Informed Approach.

The Chadwick Trauma-Informed Systems Project. (2012). Creating trauma-informed child welfare systems: A guide for administrators (1st ed.). Chadwick Center for Children and Families: San Diego CA

Creating a Personal Self-Care Plan

  • START:
    • What new behaviors would I like to start?
  • STOP:
    • What unhelpful behaviors would I like to stop?
  • KEEP:
    • What helpful behaviors would I like to maintain and develop?
    • What do I need from my colleagues?
    • What do I need from my supervisor?
    • What do I need from my organization?



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