The Intersection of Trauma 
and Restorative Practices

What we learned...
As part of our ongoing commitment to building both a trauma informed and restorative community, we welcomed in Joe Brummer from Joe Brummer Consulting, LLC to give us an overview of how being restorative is being trauma informed, and in return, being trauma informed is being restorative. 

As an introduction, Joe began with a mindfulness exercise and then proceeded to share the backstory of his use of a dog collar as a talking piece; which also served as a lesson on relationships and trauma. In telling the story about adopting a dog with a trauma history, Joe detailed three lessons learned that have also served him in his work transforming schools and communities. They are: 

1. Never give up.
2. Love relentlessly.
3. If you don't know the answer, find someone who does.

With those lessons in mind, Joe presented his model which is a hybrid approach that weaves together the following disciplines: mindfulness, trauma-informed schools, restorative practices, Collaborative Problem Solving(TM), equity, and non-violent communication. 

"The more we use it, the more we develop it."

One of the key points made was that young people learn and develop the skills that they are exposed to. So as schools maneuver through day to day conflict between students and students and teachers and students), we have to question both what do schools' introduce to them as resolution skills and how does that impact their development. Bringing in a restorative approach to climate building and conflict resolution contributes not only to solving these issues in the moment but also providing an opportunity for youth to learn/practice essential skills that will prevent them from either happening or requiring adult interventions when they do. 

Related to the "Collaborative Problem Solving" model, Joe encourages the use of a lens that views "youth in struggle" and not "youth in trouble." The shift allows for adults to frame behavioral issues as a "young person having a hard time" as opposed to taking the behavior personally and seeing a "young person giving them a hard time." It was suggested that this perspective helps lend itself toward identifying ways to mitigate that stress and get in front of future behavior issues by looking at root causes. 

Two points of follow up were offered to advance the work across the district and in our local communities. Justin committed to working with Joe to offer a lengthier training offered to the region around this topic with a focus on school partners. Those who were interested in moving forward any community specific work could contact Joe directly at or visit his website HERE.


Documents and resources distributed during the talk:

Video: The Metta Center for Non-Violence video shared is below:

A New Story of Justice: Nonviolence and Restorative Justice
A New Story of Justice: Nonviolence and Restorative Justice

Other Related Items:

Join a screening of Resilience this Friday at noon at Middlesex Hospital. Flyer  HERE

Listen to Joe on the "Restorative Justice on the Rise" podcast HERE

Collaborative Problem Solving behavior model found HERE

Recommended reading: Beyond Behaviors book found HERE

Greater Middletown Community Collaborative
The GMCC serves as both the System of Care for the Greater Middletown area and the LIST for the entire Middletown Court District. Meetings are typically held on the first Tuesday of the month at 9am and all are welcome.