DEIJB Statement

We value diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and belonging as more than just boxes to check.  

We are committed to having an intersectionally diverse team of leaders because we know that trauma impacts all communities and all people and, to be most effective, we need a diverse team to skillfully address the needs of all survivors. We seek to create a work environment where everyone feels safe and welcome enough to show up as their authentic self and where everyone’s contributions are welcomed and honored. 

We reject supremicist systems that exist to hoard resources for some while intentionally targeting and exploiting the bodies and spirits of others. We know that those who are targeted in such systems for exploitation, for example, indigenous persons and persons of color in majority white spaces and queer and trans people in heteronormative spaces, experience greater impacts of trauma and we are called to respond to that reality by centering people and communities that are exploited and oppressed.  

At CFTE, we are especially keen to note that equity, inclusion, diversity, belonging and justice are matters that directly intersect with trauma. Systems like white supremacy and any form of cultural hegemony that weaponize power to accumulate resources and access for some while intentionally withholding resources and access from others are systems of trauma. Our mandate as trauma care providers calls us to commit ourselves fully to undermining such systems of abuse. 

We recognize that we are a “white legacy institution.” What do we mean by that? Both of the founders of CFTE, Dave Emerson and Jenn Turner, are white identifying individuals. The first organization that Dave Emerson partnered with to start building and testing trauma sensitive yoga was the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts; an organization whose executive team was all white identifying.  

But deeper than the racial identity of the founders of CFTE and their first partners, the orientation toward the western medical model, inside of which CFTE programs have been cultivated and, largely, utilized, is an artifact of white, western culture, which tends to prioritize the “expert” providing care over the lived experience of the person seeking care. That is understood as a prescriptive model, where, in its most extreme, the expert dispenses a diagnosis and an treatment regime and the role of the person seeking care is complicity without agency. Do what you’re told and don’t ask questions. That is our legacy as a white, western, clinical program and THAT is precisely what we need to be vigilant against replicating. 

What is the alternative? 

At CFTE we believe we are responsible for doing our due diligence in terms of creating our care models with integrity. We believe in the peer-review process, flaws and all, when it comes to science and we seek reputable partners from the scientific community to collaborate with. We strive to hold ourselves and our partners to the highest standards when it comes to professional integrity and we welcome the scrutiny and oversight that comes with the responsibility of being pioneers in the field of embodied trauma care. 

However, we put more stock in the expertise of the person seeking care than we do in our own expertise. To us, that means we as care providers need to be in constant relationship with those seeking care rather than taking the top down approach assumed by the western medical model. Through relationship, we offer what we have and then collaborate together on how it is actualized in practice. We value cross-cultural collaboration where we, as providers, get to learn new things about indigenous models of trauma-care, for example, and how they might compliment or enhance what we have to offer. We value diversity because we know there are many paths to healing and endless ways to get there, rather than a mono-culture where there is only one way to think and anything else is deviant and unacceptable.  

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