The road to recovery from trauma and adversity can be a long one for both individuals and organizations. When you are lost, it’s useful to have a compass and that’s what S.E.L.F. is – a compass on the road to healing. S.E.L.F. is an acronym that represents the four interactive key aspects of recovery from bad experiences. S.E.L.F. provides a nonlinear, cognitive behavioral therapeutic approach for facilitating movement – regardless of whether we are talking about individual clients, families, staff problems, or whole organizational dilemmas.
T. K. Blount, son of David McCorkle and long-term Sanctuary teacher, supporter, adviser, and friend and partner Ernest Hood has written a S.E.L.F. rap:
Hook:When things get tough, I put SELF first/ There is no compromising my SELF worth/ It's the only thing that helps when the SELF hurts/ Listen here, and I'll tell you how SELF works....
1. Safety's(is) the first step when we set the pace/ Cuz we can't get far if we're not safe/ Being safe helps your friends, neighbors and mothers/ It's not just for ourselves we must(have to) for others/
2. The next step is control of (your) emotions/ Even when you're feeling rough, be smooth like lotion/ Lots of things will make you mad and that's real/ But just relax and you can think passed how you feel/
3. Now Loss is the third important lesson flow/ Being happy means you have to learn the art of letting go/ Let go of the fear and the pain and the sadness/ That's how you make room for some joy, love and gladness/
4. And in this final step, I can't afford to lose ya/ The first three are for the 4th: creating your FUTURE/ So just follow (your)SELF NOW and you'll be on your way/ Because your future is going to be what you've done with your - SELF today /
5. Hook: When things get tough, I put SELF first/ There is no compromising my SELF worth/ It's the only thing that helps when the SELF hurts/ Listen here, and I'll tell you how SELF works....
The four key domains of healing: Safety (attaining safety in self, relationships, and environment); Emotional management (identifying levels of various emotions and modulating emotion in response to memories, persons, events); Loss (feeling grief and dealing with personal losses and recognizing that all change involves loss), andFuture (trying out new roles, ways of relating and behaving as a “survivor” to ensure personal safety and help others). Using S.E.L.F., the clients, their families, and staff are able to embrace a shared, non-technical and non-pejorative language that allows them all to see the larger recovery process in perspective. The accessible language demystifies what sometimes is seen as confusing and even insulting clinical or psychological terminology that can confound clients and line-staff, while still focusing on the aspects of pathological adjustment that pose the greatest problems for any treatment environment.
S.E.L.F. is useful because it can simultaneously be employed in a parallel process manner to deal with problems that arise within the treatment setting between staff and clients, among members of staff, and between staff and administration. Applied to such issues of staff splitting, poor morale, rule infraction, administrative withdrawal and helplessness, and misguided leadership, S.E.L.F. can also assist a stressed organization to conceptualize its own present dilemma and move into a better future through a course of complex decision making and conflict resolution.
- Link to Bloom, S. L. (2010) Sanctuary as a Safety Culture
- Outline of S.E.L.F. Psychoeducational Group Curriculum
- Purchase page for the S.E.L.F. Psychoeducational Group Curriculum
- S.E.L.F. Introductory Material, free download
- Link to Bloom, S. L. (2010) Change starts with a vision.
- Link to Bills, L., Using Trauma Theory and SAGE
- Link to Bloom, S. L. (2002) Beyond the Beveled Mirror
- Vargas and Bloom, Loss, Hope and Hurt
- Link to Bloom, S. L. 1997) By the Crowd They Have Been Broken
- Link to Bloom, S. L. (2000) The Grief That Dares Not Speak Its Name, Part I,
- Link to Bloom, S. L. (2000) The Grief That Dares Not Speak Its Name, Part II
- Link to Bloom, S. L. (2000) The Grief That Dares Not Speak Its Name, Part III
- Link to Bloom, S. L. (2007) Loss in Human Service Organizations
- Link to Bloom, S. L. (1998) Moral Safety and Responsibility in the Evolution of a Sane Society
- Video or original Sanctuary program team members (1998) discussing Safety, Emotions (affect management), Loss (grieving), and Future (emancipation)