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HCN's Trauma-Informed Approach

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

By: Daniella Severs, Grants Manager

In providing Trauma-Informed Care (TIC), HCN emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety, and helps children, youth, and families rebuild a sense of wholeness.

We successfully engage caregivers and children through a warm, relationship-based approach, and partner with them to problem-solve, identify areas of strength, and set goals. This approach empowers families and helps them view us as trusted partners.

As our Clinical Director Bonnie Harrison explains, "HCN's trauma-informed approach is rooted in community, connection, cultural affirmation, and respect. Our clinical team centers healing and wholeness at the core of our work with children and families, so that while addressing trauma and loss, we also value what it is that makes our clients feel whole and seen.

We use relationship, play, affirmation, and empowerment to highlight the resilience and potential for healing that we believe inherently lives inside each individual and community that we serve."

All our therapeutic interventions help children, youth, and families recognize and understand their inherent personal and cultural strengths to advance their self- and family-care strategies from survival to strength, growth, self-actualization, and stability.

We serve clients in accordance with the six core guiding principles of Trauma-Informed Systems (TIS) supported by the San Francisco Department of Public Health:

In HCN's Ma'at Program, Black therapists connect with Black families to help them feel safe, seen, understood, and echoed. The purpose of the Ma'at Program is to improve mental health and wellness outcomes for Black/African American children, youth, and families in San Francisco and address the historical legacy of intergenerational racism, inequity, and trauma with a culturally-responsive, heartfelt, trauma-informed approach to care.

Since 1992, HCN has empowered San Francisco's Black/African American communities toward a brighter future with love, wholeness, and healing. The Ma'at Program builds on our decades of experience to help children and families address the root traumas that shape their worldviews. We provide effective treatment to increase equity of access at no cost to clients.

"While there are many components to a trauma-informed approach, the three biggest things to me are: doing things with a client/family in collaboration and partnership, knowing that talking about trauma means we're also talking about healing, and remembering that if it is not racially just then it is not truly trauma-informed.

HCN's work is rooted in compassion, justice, and critical love—the idea that to fully love and show up for another person means we uplift them while simultaneously encouraging their continued growth. In doing so, our work with our clients, families, and among colleagues remains trauma-informed," says Dr. Hazel Benigno, HCN Mental Health Program Director.

Afri-centric therapy, as part of Ma'at's trauma-informed approach to wellness, has the power to interrupt the cycle of poverty and violence and change the trajectories of Black families for generations to come.


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