TST as an Organizational Model

To effectively implement TST, several organizational elements must be in place. First, TST must fit with a given agency’s mission such that genuine commitment is effected at all levels of the organization. Second, the agency must possess the capacity to form cross-disciplinary TST teams that deliver the disparate treatment modules. Third, individual team members must be trained in, and have enthusiasm for, TST. Fourth, an ongoing evaluation system must exist to ensure that TST is delivered with fidelity.

Implementing a model such as TST in an organization brings with it certain struggles common in any setting attempting organizational change. These include resistance to change (even when staff members express dissatisfaction with the way things are) and financial considerations (including managing multiple, often conflicting demands from outside funders and regulatory bodies). In addition, implementing a trauma-informed model adds the element of raising a difficult and uncomfortable topic that many people tend to avoid.

TST takes all of these barriers into account, and engages agency leadership in a process called “organizational Ready Set Go.” This is analogous to the concept of treatment engagement with youth and families, and assumes that in order for implementation of the model to be successful, engagement from the top down as well as the bottom up must be in place.

Through this organizational engagement process, a TST consultant assists agency leadership in the creation of a TST Organizational Planning form. This is a process for identifying needs within the agency, as well as ways in which TST can help meet those needs. This process takes barriers into account and helps identify solutions to overcoming those barriers.

In keeping with TST Principal number 6, “insist on accountability, particularly your own,” TST embeds several processes for assessing fidelity to the model within organizational practice.