There is no other way to do it - if you don’t have to restrain somebody, why would you? It should just be the way to do things.

— A mother of an adult son with autism

Comfort vs. Control

While “trauma-informed” has become a frequent buzzword in behavioral healthcare, Grafton is a true pioneer in walking the talk. We know that attempting to exert control over someone in distress only fuels a psychologically destructive cycle and the current situation is compounded by past traumatic experiences.

At Grafton, we understand that, when working with individuals who have experienced trauma, we must be at our best even when they are at their worst. That’s why, over a decade ago, we committed to minimizing or, where possible, eliminating the use of restraint and seclusion. With the compelling data, experience and, most importantly, outcomes we have achieved, we are now sharing this expertise with other organizations.

Understanding the prevalence of trauma, Grafton ensures the necessary support to address it with our clients. Our trauma-informed approach creates a supportive, caregiving environment sensitive to clients’ past experiences of violence and victimization. Through a philosophy of comfort versus control, we help individuals to thrive in the least restrictive environment consistent with achieving the best outcome. Our approach is based on the most up-to-date research and completely individualized, with each plan of care as unique as the individual it serves.


In 2015, Grafton launched Ukeru Systems, a safe, comforting, and restraint-free crisis management program developed by and for behavioral health professionals and paraprofessionals, educators, and parents. It is the first crisis-training program to completely eliminate the use of restraints and seclusion as accepted behavioral management tools. Ukeru (Japanese for “to receive”) is about engaging, sensing, feeling, and responding to what someone is trying to communicate through his or her actions while also maintaining the safety of everyone involved.

How do we know this works? We’ve done the work in our own environment and seen the rewards. In 2004, Grafton issued a mandate to eliminate restraints without compromising employee or client safety. Since launching this effort, which evolved into Ukeru, Grafton has decreased client-induced staff injuries, workers’ compensation premiums, lost time, modified duty days, and turnover – resulting in a return on investment of over $16 million within 10 years. Most importantly, the use of Ukeru has been shown to help improve outcomes. Grafton’s Goal Mastery rate was 35% at the beginning of the initiative. Today, it is over 80%.

Learn more about Ukeru.