Sanctuary Model of Organizational Change

Our social safety net has been seriously corroded in the past decade and social service, health care, and mental health care systems are suffering greatly under the burden of many stressors including decreased funding, managed care restrictions on care, compromised training and supervision programs, legal mandates and The Sanctuary Modelrestrictions, and excessive paperwork. This system deterioration is further complicated by the fact that currently, in most social service and mental health The Sanctuary Modelsettings there is a lack of a clear, consistent, comprehensive and coherent model for delivering care that takes into account the impact of exposure to violence, abuse, and other forms of traumatic experience on individuals, families, staff, and organizations. Complex, parallel process interactions occur between traumatized clients, stressed staff, pressured organizations, and hostile economic and social forces in the larger environment. As a result, our systems can inadvertently recapitulate the very experiences that have proven to be so toxic for the people we are supposed to help. Not only does this have a detrimental effect on clients, but it also frustrates and demoralizes staff and administrators, a situation that can lead to worker burnout or secondary trauma with all its attendant problems. Ultimately, the inefficient or inadequate delivery of service and the toll this takes on workers, wastes money and resources. This vicious cycle also lends itself to a world view that the people receiving the services are the cause of the problem and that their situations are hopeless and they cannot really be helped.

The Sanctuary Model was originally developed in a short-term, acute inpatient psychiatric setting for adults who were traumatized as children. The Model has since been adapted by residential treatment settings for children, domestic violence shelters, group homes, outpatient settings, substance abuse programs, parenting support programs and has been used in other settings as a method of organizational change.

The Sanctuary Institute

The Sanctuary Institute is a collaborative effort of Andrus Children's Center and Dr. Sandra L. Bloom, one of the founders of the Sanctuary Model® and author of Creating Sanctuary: Toward the Evolution of Sane Societies. The objective of the Sanctuary Institute is to help organizations implement the trauma-informed, whole-system organizational approach known as the Sanctuary Model.

The Sanctuary Network

Every organization that participates in the Sanctuary Institute becomes a part of the Sanctuary Network

Sanctuary Certification

Sanctuary is a registered trademark and the right to use the Sanctuary name is contingent on engagement in a certified training program and an agreement to participate in an on-going, peer-review certification process.


Bloom, S. L. Creating Sanctuary: An Organizational Approach to Services for Traumatized Children. Child and Adolescent Trauma.

Bloom, S. L. The Sanctuary Model: A Trauma-Informed Organizational Approach to Services for Traumatized Children and Youth. In Steele, W. and Malchiodi, C. (Eds.) Trauma-Informed Practice for Children and Adolescents. New York: Routledge

Bloom, S. L. and Farragher, B. (2010). Destroying Sanctuary: The Crisis in Human Service Delivery Systems. New York. Oxford University Press.

Bloom, S. L.(2010) Trauma-organized systems and parallel process. In N. Tehrani (Ed). Managing Trauma in the Workplace – Supporting Workers and the Organisation. London: Routledge (pp. 139-153).

Bloom, S. L. (2010). Sanctuary: An Operating System for Living Organizations. In N. Tehrani (Ed) Managing Trauma in the Workplace – Supporting Workers and the Organisation. London: Routledge (pp. 235-251).

Bloom, S. L. (2010). Organizational Stress as a Barrier to Trauma-Informed Service Delivery. Becker, M. and Levin, B. A Public Health Perspective of Women’s Mental Health, New York: Springer (pp.295-311).

McSparren, W. and Motley, D. (2010). How To Improve the Process of Change. Non-Profit World 28(6): 14-15.

Bloom, S. L. (2007).The Sanctuary Model of Trauma-Informed Organizational Change. The Source 16(1): 12-14, 16. The National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center.

Bloom, S. L. (2007).Organizational Stress As A Barrier to Trauma-Informed Change and System Transformation. White Paper for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Office of Technical Assistance

Bloom, S. L. (2007). Loss In Human Service Organizations. Loss, Hurt and Hope: The Complex Issues of Bereavement and Trauma in Children. A. L. Vargas and S. L. Bloom. Newcastle, UK, Cambridge Scholars Publishing: 142-206.

Bloom, S. L. (2005) The Sanctuary Model of Organizational Change for Children’s Residential Treatment. Therapeutic Community: The International Journal for Therapeutic and Supportive Organizations 26(1): 65-81

Bloom, S. L. (2005).The System Bites Back: Politics, Parallel Process and The Notion Of Change Therapeutic Community: The International Journal for Therapeutic and Supportive Organizations 26(4, Silver Jubilee Issue): 337-354.

Bloom, S. L. McCorkle, D., Farragher, B., Nice-Martini, K., Wellbank, K., Bennington-Davis, M. (2003). Multiple Opportunities for Creating Sanctuary. Psychiatric Quarterly 74(2): 173-190.

Bloom, S. L. (2001) Creating Sanctuary in the Workplace, Prepared for the New York Business Group on Health, October.