The SELF Model

SELF – an acronym for Safety, Emotion, Loss, and Future – is a therapeutic model used at HHPC to help participants better understand their physical and emotional states and serves a guide to healing.

Safety, Emotion, Loss, Future

SELF (safety, emotion, loss, future) is rooted in the Sanctuary model developed by Sandra Bloom. Four “domains of disruption” occur when a person experiences trauma. Whether a single traumatic incident or multiple types of incidents, one’s life and sense of self is disrupted.

This model is widely used because it can help people better understand their experiences, have words for their emotions, and understand how their bodies and brains are connected to their actions. SELF provides pathways toward healing!

Guided Questions to the SELF Model

Hover over card to view questions.


Physical Safety – Is your body safe from harm?

Psychological Safety – Are you safe with yourself, with your own thoughts and actions?

Social Safety – Who can you be safe around? Who will help you stay safe?

Moral/Ethical Safety – Do you and your community have values and beliefs that create safety for all?


Naming – How can you name your feelings?

Processing – How can you process those feelings in a safe way without ignoring them or letting them control you?

Feeling – How do your emotions feel in your body, and what actions are you taking in response?


Acknowledge Loss – What have you lost in these traumas?

Grieve Loss – What needs to be grieved, and said goodbye to?

Give Space – How can you give these losses space while moving on in a healthy way?


Next Steps – What comes next? What do you imagine for yourself?

New Paths – What are new paths you can follow, goals you can set?

Your Vision –What is YOUR vision for your future?

Stories of Healing

Carol explains the origins of Healing Hurt People Chicago and what makes the program different than other violence intervention programs. She also explains the SELF model – therapeutic tools for healing from the emotional trauma that often comes with violent injury.