Dr. Antony Stately, CEO of Native American Community Clinic (NACC), has been involved with the Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) Training in Minnesota from the very beginning. Dr. Stately was drawn to the way STAR teaches about trauma as an intersectional spectrum, as well as how it addresses the way trauma shows up in our bodies. Having done a number of historical trauma healing workshops when he returned to Minnesota, he was intrigued by the effective and applicable methods for building resilience and healing trauma that STAR offers. He works with a community that doesn’t always have access to fancier, more expensive approaches that can be used to address trauma, such as therapy. He was impressed by the way STAR was complex and clear in its method for unpacking and understanding trauma and also straightforward in its strategies for helping.
According to Dr. Stately, we have seen a lot of aspects of the cycles of violence in our communities lately. With the intense civil uprising this past summer in response to the murder of George Floyd, as well as the spotlight on broader, systemic level inequity and violence, Dr. Stately believes we need a thoughtful, trauma-informed response for law enforcement as well as the entire community. Without deliberate, neuroscience-based resources and strategies to address mass trauma, people often engage in seemingly unreasonable behaviors. STAR concepts have the capacity to help people understand what is happening “upstream” for them personally before anyone reaches for a gun or explodes outward with violence. Dr. Stately says that “we cannot psycho-educate people out of crises.” Instead, we need to ask the more challenging questions: “What does trauma look like, and how do we embody it?” “Why do we rush for control of others instead of talk and de-escalate?” “Where are the opportunities for a resilience framework to be implemented?” We need to show up differently, because when people don’t have effective tools to manage trauma, difficult, and often tragic, situations emerge. We need to build skills, acquire tools, and practice strategies that open up space for personal and community reflection and self-awareness for better decision-making in emotionally loaded situations. The virtual 5-day STAR Training and the condensed versions--STAR-Lite and Introduction to STAR--offer opportunities to reflect and to learn how to manage challenging circumstances differently. If we choose to, we can transform trauma into nonviolent power for personal and collective healing and social justice change.
Furthermore, Dr. Stately appreciates not only the strong focus on understanding trauma that is present in STAR, but also the strong focus on resilience, and what we each can do in our own spheres of influence. We can never completely remove traumatic events from our lives, but we can be better informed in how we deal with them. NACC’s focus is on reducing health disparities in the Native American community—spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Dr. Stately speaks of a deeply imbedded history of trauma and violence perpetrated on and within the community. In his view, one pathway out of this situation is teaching tools of resilience. STAR strategies teach people how to address trauma, understand the cycles of violence, heal, and build resilience with healthy power to bounce back and become even stronger after bad experiences. This process strengthens individuals and communities to work together for positive social justice change for all. This is Peacebuilding.
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