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Sanctuary Institute

The Sanctuary Institute provides training and consultation services to the organizations that work with vulnerable adults, children and families with an aim to help an agency’s leaders reclaim a culture of hope and intervention. The Sanctuary Institute’s transformational process requires deep commitment, but rewards participants with powerful and measurable organizational change.

adults and teens having a discussion at a conference table

Sanctuary Model

The Sanctuary Institute has built a model of Trauma Informed Care called the Sanctuary Model to use as a blueprint for clinical and organization change. At its core, this model promotes safety and recovery from adversity through the active creation of a trauma-informed community. A recognition that trauma is pervasive in the experience of human beings forms the basis for the Sanctuary Model’s focus not only on the people who seek treatment, but equally on the people and systems who provide that treatment.

The Sanctuary Institute is a community of learning for trauma-informed care providers, guiding organizations and individuals in managing change and healing from trauma

The Sanctuary Model is a blueprint for clinical and organizational change which, at its core, promotes safety and recovery from adversity through the active creation of a trauma-informed community. A recognition that trauma is pervasive in the experience of human beings forms the basis for the Sanctuary Model’s focus not only on the people who seek treatment, but equally on the people and systems who provide that treatment.

It originated in the Philadelphia area in the early 1980s, created by a team of clinicians working in a small inpatient adult hospital unit. This team, led by Dr. Sandra Bloom, combined their clinical knowledge with their own experiences to create a trauma-informed program they called Sanctuary.

Teaching the Sanctuary Model

2023 Event poster for The Sanctuary Institute

Applying the Sanctuary Model Across Different Settings

Today, after over twenty years of adaptation built on its original design, the Sanctuary Model has reached across the human services system. In an effort to create safe and healing environments for children, families and adults who have experienced chronic stress and adversity, the Sanctuary Model is being used across a wide range of settings, including: residential treatment, juvenile justice, drug and alcohol treatment, school and community-based programs, partial hospitals, domestic violence and homeless shelters.

Creating Sanctuary in an organization is not a textbook or manualized protocol, but an organic process that happens over the course of time to move an organization toward creating a trauma-informed culture. A trauma-informed organization is one that recognizes the inherent vulnerability of all human beings to the effects of trauma and organizes system-wide interventions aimed at mitigating the negative effects of adversity and stress that are manifested in the clients served and the organization itself.

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