Trauma Informed Care: What Is It?

Trauma Informed Care is a term that is being used more and more in social work, public health, and other helping professions. But what does it really mean?

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What is Trauma?

Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. It can also result from a serious injury. When a person experiences trauma, it can have a lasting effect on their mental and physical health. Trauma can lead to a number of problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

Types of Trauma

Trauma is any event or experience that is so overwhelming and cause such intense fear, helplessness, or horror that it changed how you see the world and yourself.

There are four main types of trauma:

-Single-incident trauma: This is a one-time event, such as a natural disaster, car accident, or physical assault.
-Interpersonal trauma: This trauma is caused by repeated exposure to an event or events, such as domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual assault.
-Complex trauma: This type of trauma results from exposure to multiple traumas over time, often beginning in childhood. This can include exposure to war, refugee camps, or living in a hazardous neighborhood.
-Collective trauma: This form of trauma occurs when a group of people share in a common traumatic experience. Examples include terrorist attacks and mass shootings.

Symptoms of Trauma

Trauma can have a huge impact on a person’s life. It can cause physical and emotional problems that can last for years, or even a lifetime. Trauma can make it hard to trust people, make relationships difficult, and cause problems at work or school. It is important to get help if you are having symptoms of trauma.

Symptoms of trauma can include:

– Flashbacks
– nightmares
– intrusive thoughts
– avoidance of anything that reminder you of the trauma
– negative changes in mood or thinking
– feeling “numb” or disconnected from others
– feeling on edge, or hypervigilant
– difficulty concentrating
– easily startled
– irritability or outbursts of anger

What is Trauma-Informed Care?

Trauma-informed care is a strengths-based, trauma-sensitive approach that recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients and acknowledges the role that trauma has played in their lives. It is an approach that is informed by an understanding of the effects of trauma on the brain and on an individual’s behavior and reactions to stress.

The Six Key Principles of Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care (TIC) is a strengths-based, holistic approach to working with survivors of trauma that takes into account the role that trauma has played in their lives.

TIC is based on the understanding that everyone has a unique experience of trauma and that this experience can shape how they see the world and respond to others. TIC also acknowledges the need for survivors to feel safe, respected, and empowered in order to heal.

The six key principles of TIC are:

1. Safety: Ensuring that survivors feel safe both physically and emotionally. This may involve creating space for survivors to share their experiences at their own pace and in their own way.

2. Respect: Treating survivors with dignity and respect. This means listening to what they have to say without judgement and valuing their experiences and expertise.

3. Empowerment: Supporting survivors as they develop skills and knowledge so they can make decisions about their lives and participate in their own healing process.

4. Collaboration: Working together with survivors as partners in care. This includes involving them in all aspects of decision-making about their care, from setting goals to choosing interventions.

5. Trustworthiness: Creating an environment of trust, safety, and respect so that survivors feel comfortable sharing their experiences without fear of judgement or further harm.

6. Cultural Competency: Recognizing the importance of culture in shaping people’s experience of trauma and providing culturally-sensitive care that meets the specific needs of individual survivors.

Creating a Trauma-Informed Care Environment

When creating a trauma-informed care environment, it is important to keep in mind the three key ideas: safety, trustworthiness, and choice.

A trauma-informed care environment is one in which:

– People feel safe physically and emotionally.
– They are treated with trust and respect.
– They have a sense of control and choice.

How Does Trauma-Informed Care Help?

Trauma-informed care is a recent advance in the field of mental health care that takes into account the effects of trauma on patients. It is based on the understanding that many mental health problems are the result of exposure to traumatic experiences. Trauma-informed care can help to address the needs of these patients by providing a more holistic and trauma-sensitive approach to care.

Improving Outcomes

Research has shown that survivors of trauma who receive trauma-informed care have improved outcomes. Trauma-informed care can help survivors of trauma heal by increasing feelings of safety, trust, and self-worth. Additionally, trauma-informed care can help survivors of trauma to develop healthy coping mechanisms and to feel more empowered.

Empowering Individuals

Empowering individuals means supporting them in taking control of their lives and making choices that are right for them. It also means giving them the tools they need to heal—whether that’s through traditional methods like talk therapy or alternative methods like art therapy.

Giving people a sense of control can be especially helpful if they’ve experienced trauma, since trauma can often make people feel like they have no power or agency. When people feel like they can take charge of their lives and make decisions for themselves, they are more likely to feel happy and successful.

Strengthening Communities

Communities have always been the cornerstone of our society. It is through our interactions with each other that we develop a sense of who we are and our place in the world. Our relationships with family, friends, and others in our community provide us with a sense of support, love, and belonging.

Sadly, not all members of our community have supportive and loving relationships. Some have experienced trauma that has left them feeling isolated, alone, and disconnected from others. Trauma can change the way we see ourselves and the world around us. It can make it hard to trust others and to feel safe.

Trauma-informed care is a strengths-based approach that recognizes the impact of trauma and strives to create a safe and supportive environment for all members of the community. It starts with the understanding that everyone has a story and that no one’s story is more or less important than anyone else’s. In a trauma-informed community, everyone is respected and valued.

Trauma-informed care also recognizes that individuals who have experienced trauma may need additional support in order to heal and thrive. By providing this support, we can help people to rebuild their lives and to become an active part of their community once again.

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