mental illness

Trauma Team Super-Heros: Safety Planning


It seems like we are running through grade-school fire drills, but that isn’t the case. Right now we are preparing for our daughter, Mary, to return from an inpatient stay at a psychiatric hospital. She’s been having violent outbursts on the unit, so it’s possible she may still have them when she comes home. As they adjust her medication in the unit, we are making adjustments at home.

As we create a safety-plan for her return home we are simultaneously planning for my impending spinal fusion surgery. It’s all going to happen at some unknown point in time that is also very soon (?!??) Here’s what the plan looks like:

  • I will not be alone with Mary at any point in time until I am fully healed from surgery. Period.
  • We will remove heavy objects or anything that could be thrown, knocked over, or smashed from Mary’s room. This is for her safety and ours.
  • We will increase the amount of coping skills she can access from her room: body sock, thera-bands, play-doh, cardboard to crush, paper to rip, journal for writing, soft objects to throw or punch etc.
  • Luke and I have our phone always on us. If Mary shows signs of escalating we call for the mobile crisis team to come out. If she has auditory of visual hallucinations we will call mobile crisis for a safety evaluation.
  • If she becomes violent or dangerous, we call 911 for transport back to the hospital
  • Luke stays with Mary to keep her safe until help arrives.

Also, we have super heros helping us!

The Super-Hero Team supporting us when Mary transitions home consists of:

Superman: Their trauma therapist has some serious skills that can only been described as Kryptonion. Her X-Ray vision can see right through our kids into what’s really going on with them.  Her Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has had almost supernatural success over the years. Sort of like Superman flying up to catch our kids when they were falling through trauma and PTSD. She sees the children no matter what other kinds of therapy they are having at the time.

Batman: The therapist at the partial hospitalization day program Mary will be attending is definitely batman. She has a batcave (office) with tons of coping skills (bat-gadgets.) She’s worked with both of our kids before, and she knows our family. You might even say she is familiar with Gotham City!

Wonder Woman: My husband and I see a therapist while our kids are in session to get better at being awesome trauma-informed therapeutic parents. She is Wonder Woman, because she has the “lasso of truth,” and can always get us to open up honestly about things.

Alfred: I think the Psychiatrist that will treat Mary at PHP is a lot like Alfred was to Batman. Instead of gadgets, he will be titrating Mary’s medication which will allow Batman to do her job.

The Scooby Gang: This consists of my parents, our children’s godparents, and family friends who are willing to watch the children (in separate settings) while I am in surgery. My parents have offered to take Carl for a few days if Mary isn’t safe with him while I’m in the hospital. This way, Luke can help Mary settle and regulate, while Nana and Papa spoil Carl.


I think we are about as prepared as possible. Now all we can do is wait.

Dear Trauma,

You might have won this time, but we’ll be back. And next time we will be ready for you!


Dedicated Trauma Parents

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.


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