by Ted Wachtel
Dr. Sandra Bloom developed the Sanctuary Model as a blueprint for building a participatory community, not just among those in treatment, but among those people and systems who provide that treatment.
Although Bloom and her associates do not formally use the term “restorative practices” to describe their work, it matches that modality perfectly, including the extensive use of circles, in which each person speaks in turn without interruption, and there is the opportunity for everyone to be heard.
“Creating Sanctuary” is an organic process that happens over the course of time to move an organization from a top-down hierarchal structure toward a participatory, trauma-informed culture “that recognizes the inherent vulnerability of all human beings to the effects of trauma.”
The Sanctuary Model engages clients and staff in a way that demonstrates the new reality of doing things “with” people, rather than “to” or “for.” The Sanctuary Model originated in the Philadelphia area in the early 1980s, created by a team of clinicians working in a small inpatient adult hospital unit.
The model has since been implemented in more than 275 organizations worldwide, advancing the development of a new reality in a variety of human service settings.