Trauma-informed care is an approach to engaging with people who have experienced trauma. It acknowledges the presence of trauma in people’s lives and seeks to avoid re-traumatization.
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What is trauma?
Trauma is an emotional, physical, or psychological response to a situation that is deeply disturbing or life-threatening. Trauma can have a lasting impact on a person’s mental and physical health, and can even affect future generations.
There are many different types of trauma, but all share a common thread: they are events that overwhelm the individual’s ability to cope. Trauma can be caused by a single event (such as a car accident) or by repeated exposure to difficult experiences (such as growing up in a war zone).
Trauma is often misunderstood. Many people think of it as something that only happens to soldiers or victims of crime. However, trauma can happen to anyone. It is not always caused by something major or life-threatening; sometimes it can be caused by something as small as a negative comment from someone important in our lives.
Trauma is a reaction to an event or series of events that overwhelze feelings of isolation and helplessness and disrupts our sense of safety.
What is the impact of trauma?
When a person experiences trauma, it can have a lasting impact on their mental and physical health. Trauma can lead to physical health problems, such as chronic pain, heart disease, and gastrointestinal problems. It can also lead to mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma can also lead to substance abuse and other risky behaviors.
The term “trauma-informed” refers to an approach to care that is based on an understanding of the impact of trauma. Trauma-informed care focuses on the whole person, not just on their symptoms. It takes into account the fact that people who have experienced trauma may be more likely to mistrust authority figures, or may have difficulty with communication or forming attachments. Trauma-informed care also recognizes that people who have experienced trauma may be more likely to experience re-traumatization.
Trauma-informed care is a strengths-based approach that emphasizes safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment. It is an approach that is culturally sensitive and appropriate
What is trauma-informed care?
Trauma-informed care (TIC) is an emerging practice model that recognizes the prevalence of trauma and its impact on individuals’ health and well-being. TIC is based on the premise that traumatic experiences can have a profound and lasting impact on individuals’ physical, mental, and emotional health and that traditional approaches to care may inadvertently re-traumatize individuals.
TIC is a strengths-based, culturally responsive approach that seeks to engage individuals in their own care and healing. TIC providers work to create a safe and supportive environment that recognizes the unique needs of each individual. TIC is built on three key principles: safety, choice, and collaboration.
Safety: TIC providers seek to create a safe environment for both providers and clients. This includes physical safety as well as emotional safety. TIC providers take into account the potential for re-traumatization and work to avoid triggering past trauma.
Choice: TIC empowers clients by giving them a voice in their care. Clients are involved in decisions about their treatment and are given choices whenever possible. This includes decisions about medication, therapy, disclosure of trauma history, and other aspects of care.
Collaboration: In TIC, providers work collaboratively with clients to co-create treatment plans. This includes involving clients in setting goals for treatment and involving them in decisions about how to best meet those goals. Treatment plans are flexible and responsive to the unique needs of each client.
What are the principles of trauma-informed care?
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has identified six key principles of trauma-informed care:
Safety: Physical and emotional safety are prerequisites for healing.
Trustworthiness and Transparency: Organizations seeking to provide trauma-informed care should ensure that their policies, practices, and communications are trustworthy and transparent.
Choice and Control: Those receiving services should be given as much choice and control over their care as possible.
Collaboration and Mutuality: Collaboration between providers and those receiving service is essential to the provision of trauma-informed care.
Empowerment, Voice, and Reflection: Empowering those receiving services, valuing their voices, and encouraging them to reflect on their experiences are all important components of trauma-informed care.
Inclusivity and Social Connections: A sense of belongingness and social connectedness are essential for healing to take place.
How can trauma-informed care be implemented?
There are many ways in which organizations can begin to implement trauma-informed care. Training staff in trauma-informed care is one way to increase knowledge and change attitudes and beliefs about survivors of trauma and their needs. It is also important to develop policies and procedures that are trauma-informed, as well as create a physical environment that is safe and welcoming. Finally, it is essential to partner with survivors of trauma to engage them in the design and delivery of services.