Falk College receives grants to assist trauma victims of neighborhood violence

Grant awards from the Community Foundation of Central New York and the John Ben Snow Foundation will support a new collaborative project, led by principal investigator, Linda Stone Fish, Falk Family Endowed Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy. The project, entitled, “In This Together,” will provide workshops to help social service professionals, educators, health care practitioners, juvenile justice workers, clergy, and mental health counselors learn how to identify and address signs of trauma. The program will also provide grief counseling, healing circles, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and therapy to community members impacted by violence.

Most of the people on the front lines of gang and gun violence, including the residents and the responders assisting them, have witnessed violence and its aftermath personally. Affected individuals often struggle with grief, helplessness and fear, which can lead to substance abuse, revenge violence, and detachment from friends, family, and schooling, among other challenges. “We believe that offering trauma-informed practice in the neighborhoods of greatest violence will begin to address the most often ignored trauma, and may reduce the grief and rage that fuels the next act of violence,” says professor Stone Fish. “Our unique partnership with therapists and Trauma Response Team members who are trusted by the community make us ideal to address this need. In this process, we are training our students in culturally competent and trauma-informed practices so they are ready to meet the community in ways they can be helpful.”

Stone Fish is the co-author of the book, Treating Complex Trauma, which presents the Collaborative Change Model (CCM), a clinically evaluated model that facilitates client and practitioner tools for clients struggling with the impact and effects of complex trauma. The In This Together collaboration includes Tracey Reichert-Schimpff, director of clinical services in the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy, Sandra Lane, professor of public health and anthropology, Dessa Bergen-Cico, associate professor of public health, and, Rachel Razza, associate professor of child and family studies, all from Falk College, and Robert Rubenstein, professor of anthropology and international relations, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Psychologists Ron Fish and Bill Cross who specialize in the Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM) are part of the collaborative efforts. Additional partners include Syracuse University’s Couple and Family Therapy Center, the Syracuse Trauma Response Team (TRT), led by founding director, Timothy ‘Noble’ Jennings-Bey and Arnett Haygood El, both from the Street Addictions Institute, Inc., Mother’s Against Gun Violence, the Syracuse Police Department, and area healthcare institutions and community agencies.

In addition to developing trauma-informed care programs in the community and preparing future practitioners in this area, including a Certificate of Advanced Study in trauma-informed practice, research and practice in the field of trauma is a focal point in Falk College and includes: study and data collection specific to violence and gang activity as ‘street addictions’ to address communities in trauma and public safety as a public health problem; a training program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to prepare military veterans in conducting research with other veterans; PTSD-focused programming and research, including mindfulness-based stress reduction and healthy eating, designed for the needs of veterans and military families; how veterans’ experiences of complex and morally fraught circumstances in military service in time of war affect their emotional, mental, and spiritual health; neurobiology of trauma; coursework in EMDR Therapy, which relieves many types of psychological distress, and;
courses and an academic track focused on trauma in medical settings with children.