Facilitators: Amanda Lindamood (Director of Training & Community Engagement at DC Rape Crisis Center), Ella Jennings LGSW, and Corinn Marquis (Motivational Leader and Change Agent).
Grounding For Skillshare

Facilitators helped set the community agreements and stressed the importance of intentionally building a space that centers consent.


  • Introductions
  • Mingle
  • Fishbowl – “group identities”
  • Neurobiology of trauma – making connuuections to facilitation
  • Goal: develop shared understanding for viewing trauma as a facilitation consideration
  • Equip: break-out groups: facilitation considerations
  • DCRCC: a case study
  • Use of space: set-up
  • Supports – in training
  • Responses – triggers
  • Community norms – expectations
  • Goals: provide practical considerations for trauma-informed community norms, environmental supports, and facilitation styles
  • Engage
  • Group scenarios
  • Tips and barriers
  •  Revisionary fishbowl
  • Takeaways: integrating consent
  • Goal: create a platform for safety

Points that were stressed by facilitators:
-    Intent v. Impact – Taking responsibility for the harm caused.
-    Set clear intentions as facilitators  
-    Name Your Resistance as Participants & Facilitators – What are the things that aren’t allowing one to be in the space and what are those areas of resistance
-    Ask questions- This is about new experiences and engaging with the context. We can use information in different ways
-    Accept non-closure – Trauma is a big subject and there isn’t enough time to engage in the issue fully. This isn’t the last time. Maybe take a tool or two to use.
-    Emotions have a place
-    You are invited to take care of yourself
-    Question “assumptions” and question the things you think everyone knows

Learning theory driving the skillshare
The skillshare incorporates learning theory that is built on the following:

  • Inform – shared information
  • Equip – tools to help you use that info
  • Practice  - Time to practice the tool

Facilitator Commitments                    
1. Name point of view/lens being offered
2. Facilitate experience and collaboration
3. Offer breaks
4. Allow for consent
5. Offer info in multiple forms
6. Multiple truths, experiment with multiple frames
7. Allow for practice

Community Norms
1.    Challenge by choice
2.    Safe to not know and accountable for impact
3.    Set intentions
4.    Take breaks
5.    Name your resistance
6.    Stay curious – ask questions
7.    Accept non-closure
8.    Emotions have a place
9.    Question assumptions

First Activity
Opening – “We invite you to the mingle rather than you having to do the mingle”
I.    Question: How has trauma impacted your learning spaces and in what sense does trauma present itself in your space.  How has it impacted you in terms of facilitation if trauma has been in the room?
II.    Activity  (Fishbowl)
III.    People have 11 different identities. Trauma doesn’t always announce itself but is always in the room.
IV.    The fishbowl included 11 different identities and people enacted their different roles in the fishbowl.

 Neurobiology of Trauma
- Everyone has a range of tolerance. Some individuals can handle the situation, while in other cases they cannot.  You know what do in those situations and move on. There are also things that exceed what we can handle.
-  Discussed the different part of the brain and how they interact with trauma  
- Fight/flight/freeze are responses your body gives when its triggered

a. Freeze – To make the violence less harmful  
When you are triggered, you are only making decisions from a place where you feel threatened. The central nervous system over time makes a longer list of what is triggering and what it starts associating threat and fear with.
-    All of the information is being processed at the same time while other parts of the brain are shutting down. This can result in shutting down or someone becoming more louder.
-    The brain is sending mixed messages and becomes disorganized.  
-    What that means is you don’t know where to access info, what is unmanageable, and don’t know what to predict when it will shut down
-    The first thing that shuts down is your area that controls language and it is communication that gets shut down.
-    When you are learning, then you want to access the information and to feel in control.
-    To be triggered is to feel out of control and can feel like a scary thing.  

Training Tools
-    If you are having a training that is accessible then you should be able to have language you can use in the beginning so people can access it.
-    Fight-flight-freeze (handout)
-    Some basic information about how we are talking about trauma and how trauma might affect us.  4 main areas of consideration when facilitating to prepare for trauma in your space:
o    Set-up space
o    Support (during the training)
o    How do you respond when triggers happen – during/after training
o    What are community norms?
-    What do you think is important in terms of setting-up space/support/responding and community norms
-    As a trainer beginning with “ Do we have the permission to train you”  is helpful .
-    If you are asking for permission for the training and then asking what is the lens that you are bringing. When we are doing trainings then setting expectations and the perspective one is coming from is important.
-    The facilitator can be open to addressing something and offer something about a perspective and create open spaces without you offering the space
▪    As a trainer handling feedback is one piece of it but also what is in your capacity and what isn’t is also an important component of facilitation. What are some boundaries and aren’t some boundaries.
▪    More pedagogical ways of learning than using  PPT – artistic/didactic/in other ways

DCRCC recommendations for facilitating spaces in a way that is prepared for trauma:
•    Snacks and comfort (e.g. temperature, seating) in space
•    Flip charts/group participation in community norms
•    Easy/private access to restrooms
•    Space awareness environment based set-up (i.e. (leave quietly, stand, exit for emotions, neutrality and triggers associated, sensory etc.)
•    Beforehand: share agenda and written material
•    Language explanation
•    Boundaries in space
•    Trauma has different definitions/experiences
•    Roles/privacy/expectations with youth
•    Prepared/unprepared trauma +….
•    Is it mine, how is it theirs, what do we do with it/mine?
•    Transparency, identifying material, triggers, crisis intervention tools to handle trauma
•    Triggered by participant vs. material
•    How does trauma enter the room? Is different expression acknowledged?
•    Goals/safety/consent
o    *Flexibility*
•    Practicing self-correcting
o    Ex: implicit bias/exclusion or over-generalizing
•    Range of tolerance
•    Fight, flight or freeze
•    Language, ways to access what they need and support without shame or judgement

Available supports – during training
•    Facilitator commitments
o    Name point of view/lens
o    Facilitate experience
o    Offer breaks
o    Allow for consent/opting in
o    Offer information in multiple forms
o    Accept multiple truths – experiment with multiple frames
•    The framework – survivor-centered
o    Inward – conscious awareness
•    How are you expanding a person’s tools?
o    Outward --  supported actions
•    What are the consent points?
•    Template:
o    Preparation
o    Reflection
o    Individual, small and large group
o    Role play, scenarios, movement, activities
o    Open and close the space

Responding to triggers:
•    De-escalation
•    Re-direction
•    Conditions for breaks – facilitator and/or group
•    How to transition b/n agenda items
•    Some responses to participant emotions/disrespect
•    How to interact with participants and facilitators – safety planning and accountability
•    Confidentiality
•    Thinking on your feet – in-the-moment recovery
•    Grounding
•    Resourcing
•    Tracking
•    Self-observation
•    Boundary-setting
•    Effective listening
•    Engaging support

Community Norms:
•    Facilitator commitments: reciprocal
•    Challenge by choice
•    It is safe to not know and ask questions: TAKE accountability for impact
•    Question assumptions
•    Accept non-closure
•    Emotions have a place
•    Set intentions
•    Name your resistance
•    Take breaks

Scenarios in which trauma shows up:
Participants disagree with the facilitator (uncomfortable/resist/offended by)
o    Its okay to disagree with the facilitator
o    Some of the things I may share might challenge thinking. Therefore  take what you can and leave the rest
o    Naming that I don’t expect you to do something with this info.  Alleviate some of that conflict. This isn’t everyone point of view and you are not wrong
-    Facilitator becomes disrupted by spaces
o    Having a co-facilitator (tag in and tag out)
o    Lose rapport when someone is scolding you
-    Audience notices facilitator is uncomfortable
o    To acknowledge frustrated and take a 5 minute break
o    Psychological pause (ill get back to you; something is coming up let’s take a break) don’t feel challenged to say no to a question
-    Whole group is silent
o    Things you can do with a partner
o    Comments via anonymous (nervous about the wrong answer)
o    Other ways to participate
o    Sound like what I am doing isn’t resonating. Do we need to take a minute and we aren’t ready to engage and can we get ready. We have to plan another day to meet

Bottom line is as a facilitator to always assume that trauma is in the room, even if you’re not hearing about it.