The Traumatic Stress Institute fosters the transformation of organizations and service systems to trauma-informed care (TIC) through the delivery of whole-system consultation, professional training, coaching, and research.

Whole-System Change Model to Trauma-Informed Care

The TSI Whole-System Change Model (WSCM) supports organizations as they navigate the challenging and rewarding process of becoming trauma-informed. Through the WSCM, TSI serves as a steady, long-term partner that supports systems as they prepare to launch, implement, and sustain TIC culture and practices.
Consult Call
Explore how the Whole-System Change Model may be the right fit for your agency’s transformation to trauma-informed care. Contact Program Coordinator Mary Jo Harwood at to schedule your free consult call.

Whole-System Change Video

One-hour video featuring Program Coordinators Mary Jo Harwood, LSW, and John Engel speaking about their work with client agencies.


Leadership Engagement

The Model begins with coaching of leadership to galvanize buy-in to the TIC change process. READ MORE...

Risking Connection Staff Training

Risking Connection (RC) is a trauma 101 staff training model that organizations adopt to foster a trauma-informed workforce. RC becomes embedded in the organization through a Train-the-Trainer model. READ MORE...

Restorative Approach Staff Training

The Restorative Approach (RA) is a trauma-informed alternative to "point and level" systems in group care settings serving children and youth. RA becomes embedded in the organization through a Train-the-Trainer model. READ MORE...

Follow-Up Coaching

TSI provides regular coaching to support organizations in executing their TIC Implementation Plan. READ MORE...

RC Trainer Certification and Professional Development

Risking Connection Associate Trainers are certified to teach the RC Training at their organization. Trainers join an international community of RC Trainers who benefit from annual professional development trainings. READ MORE...

Program Evaluation and Online Dashboard

Rigorous program evaluation is integral to the TSI model. Data is collected and results are displayed on the organization's individually-tailored online data dashboard. READ MORE...

The landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study has provided overwhelming evidence about the profound life-long impact of childhood trauma on health outcomes.  Organizations now recognize that large numbers of those they serve have suffered adverse experiences and trauma. They also recognize that, to meet this reality, their organizational culture and treatment services must change to ones that reflect trauma-informed care (TIC) .

Current models of working with people impacted by trauma are not as effective as hoped and, without more sophistication, service outcomes fall short. Without more tools, programs fall back on punitive practices such as restraint or program suspension/expulsion which can re-traumatize consumers.

Transforming to TIC is more than just doing trauma assessments, providing evidenced-based treatment, and offering periodic training.  Truly embracing TIC involves a whole-systems shift in organizational culture — a paradigm shift away from traditional models of service.

TSI’s whole-system change model supports organizations over 12 to 18 months to make this challenging and rewarding change. The model is built around the Risking Connection® (RC) Trauma Training Model and, for child group care settings, the Restorative Approach,but includes other critical elements.

Empirical research on the TSI transformation model demonstrates concrete measurable outcomes. These include: changes is staff knowledge, attitudes, and behavior related to TIC; reduced restraints and seclusions, decreased negative discharges, and decreased staff turnover. TSI’s research program developed the Attitudes Related to Trauma-Informed (ARTIC) Scale, one of the first psychometrically valid measures of trauma-informed to be published in the peer reviewed literature.

At TSI, we are not about short-term fixes or the “train and hope” approach to change. We are in it with our client agencies for the long haul. A large percentage of TSI’s clients have sustained the model for over 4 years, some as long as 10 years. (Risking Connection Sustainability Findings). As such, they have positioned themselves to meet the call for trauma-informed services and attract more referrals in an increasingly competitive marketplace.