The Sanctuary Model

Good Shepherd Services is in the process of incorporating the Sanctuary Model® into all our residential programming. The Sanctuary Model is a comprehensive approach to developing a trauma-sensitive culture in which psychological and social trauma can be addressed and resolved. Referred to as a “full-system approach,” the Sanctuary Model requires extensive leadership, staff and participant involvement at every level of the process. The Model works to counter the natural tendency of programs which serve traumatized participants becoming “crisis environments,” which carry a heavy risk of re-traumatizing the participants, by providing a comprehensive plan and process for creating a trauma-sensitive, democratic, nonviolent culture.


The Sanctuary Model consists of two key components: the creation of a therapeutic milieu designed to help participants develop healthy attachments and psycho-education geared toward emotional, social, cognitive and behavioral recovery from trauma. The creation of the therapeutic milieu strongly emphasizes close teamwork and a strongly clarified shared vision, mission, set of values, practices and goals among staff members, which corresponds nicely with key elements of practice already in place at Good Shepherd. The psycho-educational aspect of Sanctuary incorporates the four interactive key aspects of recovery from trauma for youth, and is known as the S.E.L.F. Model:


  • Safety – attaining physical, psychological, social and moral safety in self, relationships and the environment;

  • Emotion management – identifying levels of affect and modulation of response;

  • Loss – feeling grief and dealing with personal loss;

  • Future – trying new roles, moving forward, identifying as a “survivor.”


The Model requires seven key commitments to creating Sanctuary, all of which also correspond with Good Shepherd Services’ existing practices:


  • Culture of Nonviolence
  • Culture of Emotional Intelligence

  • Culture of Inquiry and Social Learning

  • Culture of Shared Governance

  • Culture of Open Communication

  • Culture of Social Responsibility

  • Culture of Growth and Change


For more information about the Sanctuary Model, please visit

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