Trauma Informed Care for the Legal Profession Webinar Series: Episode 5: The Importance of Promoting Voice and Choice in the Legal Profession
"Trauma Informed Care for the Legal Profession" is a 6 part webinar series, focused on the core concepts of trauma informed care (Safety, Trustworthiness and Transparency, Peer Support, Collaboration and Mutuality, Empowerment and Cultural, Historical and Gender Issues).
The webinar will include evidence supporting the relevance of this model, and review how trauma is experienced and the impact of trauma on every day life. The science and neuro-biology will be reviewed, with references to studies and articles published in academic journals. Learning objectives are specified to meet the Law Society’s definition of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as a means to maintain or enhance a lawyer or paralegal’s professional knowledge, skills, attitudes and professionalism.
Each episode includes a one hour presentation and 30 min discussion.
Accreditation by The Law Society of Ontario:
This program contains 7 hours and 30 minutes of Professionalism content and 1 hour and 30 minutes of EDI Professionalism content.
- Healthy Personal and Professional Boundaries
- Effective Conflict Resolution and interpersonal effectiveness
- Self-Compassion, mindfulness & empathy for sustainable collaboration
- Emotional Intelligence: Emotional Regulation, Self Regulation, Empathy, Support
- Sensitivity training for interviewing, assessing, relating to others (clients, staff)
- The 4 R's of trauma informed care
- Identifying risk factors for trauma, (developmental trauma, Big & Little "t" trauma)
- The impact of trauma on the brain (function, structure, development) over the lifespan
- Sensitivity training skills to prevent re-traumatization
- A review of Adverse Childhood Event's Scale and relevance to legal profession
- Empathy and Authenticity for transparency in legal practice
- The neuro-sequential model for stress reduction
- Tools for a strengths based model to promote resiliency and desired outcomes
- EDI: awareness of trauma, neurodiversity, diversity and challenging beliefs/ "othering" with a model for risk and harm reduction and inclusion
- Discussion of power imbalance, organizational structure and traumatic aspects of the legal profession and tools for change
Module Five Will Cover:
- Empathy and recognizing assumptions, biases, judgments guiding behaviors will be
reviewed as this blocks connection and contributes to re-traumatization (resisting this is a
key element of trauma informed care). This involves a deeper understanding of how trauma
impacts growth and functioning. Using a strengths based model, awareness and empathy
empowers clients to use their voice and exercise choice in legal proceedings. Trauma is
often experienced through powerlessness, thus empowering clients will lead to healing and
- How trauma-informed care can promote voice and agency for clients, including
recognizing trauma, dis-empowerment and modelling self-compassion, self-trust and self advocacy.
- Trauma-Informed Communication and Choice: Effective communication strategies for
promoting client choice, including reflective listening, empathy, and shared decision making,
using a new approach with an understanding of evidence based cognitive differences
resulting from trauma.
- The importance of self-reflection in promoting voice and choice for clients includes
challenging one's own limiting beliefs, recognizing triggers for vicarious trauma, emotional,
cognitive and social patterns, power imbalances, distress tolerance, history of adversity and
learning the language of empathy in professionalism.
- Understanding factors contributing to stress and the stress response in legal proceedings
will help the professional advocate for their client and reach the desired outcome more
effectively and efficiently. This allows for a focused and positive approach to clients. Specific
models for repairing relationships, parenting, stress management and self-care will be
addressed using a trauma-informed lens.
- Self-awareness will help professionals train and educate others, enhance systemic wide leadership skills to promote inclusion and collaboration. Without self-awareness, training will lack authenticity and effectiveness, as will client related outcomes.
Eden Dales, MSW, RSW is registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, as well as a member in good standing with Ontario Association of Social Workers. Eden graduated with her Master’s Degree in Social Work in 2001 at Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Eden Dales works with Eden Dales Social Work, a community-based social work practice, providing assessments and counselling services for clients and families recovering from trauma across Ontario, in many different languages.