“The Sanctuary Model”

20 Feb


Consider this one-stop shopping for educating yourself about the multitudinous psychological, neurological, emotional, physical, behavioral, interpersonal, intergenerational, and societal effects of trauma resulting from abuse, particularly domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse. Their website describes the Sanctuary Model as “a theory-based, trauma-informed, evidence-supported, whole culture approach that has a clear and structured methodology for creating or changing an organizational culture” and goes on to define a concept called “safety culture” as a model for treating trauma that works to provide four levels of safety: physical safety, psychological safety, social safety, and moral safety.


The aspect of “moral safety” particularly resonates with me. The basic idea is that when your moral code, what you believe to be right and wrong, is constrained, undermined, or contradicted by your social environment–in particular by your caregivers and social superiors–you experience a sense of “moral distress.” An environment that positively reinforces your moral code is necessary to heal the personal fragmentation caused by trauma. So simple, yet so profound.

This website was created in conjunction with the Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating all forms of communal violence by addressing their roots in individual trauma.

It will take me a while to read everything on it, but I’ve already devoured “Understanding the Impact of Sexual Assault: The Nature of Traumatic Experience” by Sandra Bloom M.D. I think it’s a good place to start for anyone seeking to heal from PTSD resulting from childhood sexual abuse. You can find it here:


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