Trauma Informed Program at Muir Wood Teen

Muir Wood’s Trauma-Informed Residential Program

The  Trauma-Informed Residential Treatment Program at Muir Wood serves adolescent girls ages 12-17. The campuses which are on over 32 acres in idyllic Sonoma County, California, are accredited by the Joint Commission, dually licensed by the Department of Health Care Services and Department of Social Services, and the on-site Muir Wood Learning Center is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The program is also staffed by a highly credentialed clinical team, with on-site psychiatric, medical and nursing. This unique trauma-informed, gender-specific setting for adolescent girls 12-17 further demonstrates Muir Wood’s commitment to meeting the need for high-quality, in-network care for teens and their families. Making exceptional care accessible.

A Trauma-Informed Approach

Trauma has always existed, but we lacked the knowledge or the skills to understand what to do about it within care systems. Over the last twenty years, the field consolidated the brilliance of many experts in the trauma world, from medical, psychological, sociological and ecological perspectives. We’ve learned the pervasiveness of trauma in every aspect of well-being, making this shift in residential care both mandatory and eye opening for how to create transformation in client well-being. Trauma is no longer just something the military experience after a cataclysmic war; we’re understanding that the body can be impacted in the same way from a myriad of other sources of trauma…. from bullying at school, to identity erasure related to gender or expression, to the change in a relationship or friendship. And that impact is incredibly individualized and unique to the human and their world. The lives of adolescents are exponentially more complicated and nuanced, particularly given the ways in which they must exist both in reality and digitally. The adolescent sense of SELF is more faceted than ever; which requires a flexible and forward-thinking approach to understanding and treating trauma. 

Muir Wood is on the cutting edge of this work, using innovative technology and diverse communication styles, and integrating somatic and neurobiological approaches including EMDR, somatic experiencing, sensorimotor, brainspotting, polyvagal theory, TRE (trauma release exercises), CBT, and Chinese medicine/ energy medicine strategies. Additionally, our approach is based on an intersection of approaches, incorporating all the identities, histories and experiences of the client and their family system.

In our innovative new trauma-informed program at Muir Wood, we aren’t merely treating trauma activation to reduce symptoms. We are strengthening and refining the individual, through structured, collective relational and somatic trauma healing and skill building. We facilitate mutual growth, empower expansion and eventual transition back into their respective lives with a clearer sense of self and belonging, and tools to sustain that transformation. Our goal is that clients will leave our program with a clear map of their trauma, its impact on all parts of themselves, and strategies for healing the deep wounds that fuel their distress. As a result, they will be better able to navigate the complexities of their lives in the future, and positively impact every human they touch.

Meet Angie Gunn, LCSW, CST

Angie Gunn, LCSW, CST
Angie Gunn, LCSW, CST

The Penngrove program will be led by Angie Gunn, LCSW, CST. Angie is a licensed clinical social worker, and clinical supervisor. Angie facilitated her first trauma informed care training 12 years ago in a chaotic traumatized child welfare system in Wisconsin. The program focused on how to create better outcomes for children in care, while caring for overworked professionals. Over the last twenty years in our field, she has spent her career trying to figure out how to do the work well, while learning to be a grounded, connected, healthy person in the work. Angie will be the first to say, “While I didn’t always succeed, I got a lot better at reading my own process of activation, deeply rooted in my own childhood trauma, and understanding the cues and needs of both clients and systems. System change feels uncomfortable because it means naming processes that became about system sustainability, versus the client; it requires rethinking what it means to be doing a “good job,” and what it means to be someone with clear boundaries and regulated healing relationships with one another and with our clients.” This background has allowed Angie to adapt quickly in times of chaos. Prior to Muir Wood, Angie worked in various settings as a care coordinator in residential care, case manager, supervisor, trainer, therapist, clinical supervisor, and practice and program manager. In every role her driving principles have remained consistent: creating an anti-oppression framework for well-being, and integration of all the parts of the person, within trauma informed and regulated systems. At Muir Wood, Angie leads our trauma-focused program in creating new ways of integrating trauma informed work into residential care, and increasing well-being outcomes for a new generation of youth. Muir Wood is proud to have someone with the clinical pedigree, commitment and depth as Angie lead this team.