COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHT – December 2022
The MINNESOTA TRAUMA RECOVERY INSTITUTE (MN-TRI) is this month’s featured organization. All featured organizations can be found in the CIC Resource Guide.
Note that CIC cannot vouch for the organizations on this list.
The Minnesota Trauma Recovery Institute (MN-TRI) is a mental health service focused on healing trauma in individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. They serve clients of all ages and experiences through individual, family, and couples therapy, and they host therapy groups designed around a variety of goals. They also coordinate educational programming to help other organizations and their staff understand what trauma looks like and how to effectively care for their trauma-impacted clients. MN-TRI’s unique approach to treatment centers the community and acknowledges that healing generational trauma takes collaboration between mental health professionals, the criminal justice system, the healthcare industry, and all systems that touch the lives of their patients. There are three levels to MN-TRI’s approach. The first, most proximate level is individualized mental health treatment, addressing trauma on a case-by-case basis. The second tier of their work is community education, helping others learn about the impacts of trauma in order to provide more equitable services. The third is their research initiative, through which they investigate the roots and impacts of trauma and how best to address them.
MN-TRI’s mental healthcare service specializes in an intersectional, family and relationship-centered treatment style. They see their patients’ needs through a trauma-informed lens, using techniques like Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) to address complex trauma histories. NET involves contextualizing a person’s trauma by helping them construct a personal narrative. Their practitioners also work to educate patients about the psychological impacts of incarceration and other sources of trauma to bring their mental health into personal and societal contexts. Their mental health services, in tandem with their research and education initiatives, focus on identifying and addressing underlying social and systemic conditions that worsen trauma.
MN-TRI’s education and training programs are designed for organizations that interact with justice-involved families and others that may have experienced trauma. They have worked with judges, courtroom staff, and addiction centers to help them identify trauma-impacted individuals and consider how best to care for them. In a courtroom setting, this can look like more lenient sentencing to allow an individual to continue therapy, instead of incarcerating them and isolating them from their mental healthcare providers. Their goal is to eliminate as many barriers as possible to their patients’ continuous care.
No one seeking care is ever turned away from MN-TRI, regardless of criminal history, and their practitioners are prepared to work with individuals with all life experiences and varieties of trauma. Therapists are not only central to patient success on a clinical level but are also engaged in their patients’ well-being across the healthcare and legal systems. Therapists frequently write letters for presentencing investigations expressing patient growth and potential and urging judges to consider the mental health of their patients during sentencing. This exceptional involvement in patient success is characteristic of the MN-TRI team.
The MN-TRI research initiatives continue their goal to provide access to mental healthcare and to break cycles of trauma. One of their current projects is developing a trauma-informed parenting curriculum. This curriculum is the first of its kind and is a continuation of their family-focused lens. They are also advocating for sentencing alternatives to anger management, including Narrative Exposure Therapy.
MN-TRI’s ultimate goal is to facilitate deeper healing for their patients so that they can achieve real freedom from trauma. Each dimension of MN-TRI works to heal communities on an individual, systemic, and societal level.
There is currently a waitlist for MN-TRI’s mental health services, but they continue to make an effort to bring high-quality care to as many people as possible. Interested individuals should seek current information on the MN-TRI website. Their educational programming is also available to interested organizations. Please reach out through the contact form, found on their website.
To learn more, please visit mntri.org. To access MN-TRI’s services or request more information, navigate to mntri.org/request-therapy. Please visit mntri.org/contact-us for inquiries about their educational programming.