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Research shows that over half the middle class population has “adverse childhood experiences” (ACE) in their background, and ACEs are associated with serious later life health and social problems. The Center for Post-Trauma Wellness (CPTW) offers “Restorative Integral Support” (RIS) for professionals who treat ACEs and other trauma as well as people recovering from trauma. RIS incorporates practices with documented success.


The CPTW grew out of more than 200,000 hours of staff experience over 20 years at the Committee on the Shelterless (‘COTS’), in Petaluma, California. In helping over 15,000 homeless people return to productive, functional lives, COTS has explored, applied and evaluated dozens of ways to help those wounded by ACEs and other trauma. RIS is an application of Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory, which provides the theoretical underpinning of the CPTW.


Through the CPTW, COTS shares the fruits of its research and experience with the broader audience of helping professionals and those wounded by trauma. All proceeds from the Center benefit the nonprofit work of COTS.


Restorative Integral Support (RIS) is “whole life” recovery for people who face challenges of all kinds. RIS is based on the premise that human beings are body, mind and spirit -- we experience the world internally in our subjective lives; we exist and express ourselves in our relationships and community; and we are rooted in and nurtured by the natural world.


We can be wounded or be without adequate resources in any of these areas, and there are opportunities for support in each of them. RIS systematically assesses an individual's needs and provides guidance for facilitating recovery. As a comprehensive, “whole person” approach to recovery from trauma, RIS includes powerful somatic therapies and other research-informed interventions.


Interest in RIS is growing. On May 23, 2012, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Collaborative for the Application of Prevention Technologies sponsored ACE presentations that included “Restorative Integral Support (RIS): Implementing Comprehensive ACE Response.” Presenters were Heather Larkin of the CPTW, Rob Anda, co-principal investigator of the Center for Disease Control’s ACE Study and Laura Porter of the Washington Family Policy Council. The audience consisted of state leaders in substance abuse prevention and mental health promotion as well as a few epidemiologists.


The following week, “Restorative Integral Support (RIS): Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and ACE Consequences” was offered at the Horizons for Homeless Children conference in Boston as a workshop focused on comprehensive, whole family prevention. The workshop explored how we can support homeless parents to prevent the occurrence of ACEs in their children and address their own ACE backgrounds, and how social networks enhance healing for homeless children and their families.  


Since then, the Alliance for Children and Families sponsored the webinar, “RISing out of Trauma: A Whole Person Response to ACEs.” Also, the New York State Child Welfare Court Improvement Project sent a special thank you note for the presentation on “Whole Person Support for Post-Trauma Wellness,” which introduced RIS to about two hundred participants.


RIS has been praised by educators and clinicians. For example, Vincent R. Starnino, PhD, Indiana University, School of Social Work, says “The RIS model offered by the Center for Post-Trauma Wellness skillfully combines research-based knowledge with empowerment, hope and healthy relationships for clients and practitioners.”

Agency and community leaders across the country are starting to apply RIS. An article on Senior Hope Counseling, Inc, located in the NY’s Capital Region, describes RIS as a best practice for older adults experiencing co-occurring disorders. As another example, Patrick Anderson, Executive Director of Chugachmiut, an Alaska based Native Tribal consortium of seven tribes delivering health care and related services over a 20 million mile area, is adapting RIS for integrated behavioral health and primary care addressing ACEs.


The Center for Post-Trauma Wellness’ first video, Post-Trauma Wellness (44 minutes), is available to watch instantly via Amazon’s streaming video service. You can rent it for $1.99 for seven days, or download to own for $14.95. The Center continues to offer the video as a DVD for $19.95, which may be the best option for group training. A second DVD is now available on the website, providing an overview of ACE research for providers:

. Technical assistance in application of RIS also is available.


For more information, see, or email

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