What is Trauma?
Trauma stems from events that threaten your safety, violate your personal well-being, or impact your family in a negative, profound way. Events like abuse, sexual violence, natural disasters, mass shootings, death, or systemic barriers can all create lasting impacts on your daily functioning. When seeking treatment, getting the help you need and avoiding re-traumatization is important. Trauma-informed care provides an outlet to do so.
What is Trauma Informed Care?
Trauma-specific services are different interventions or programs that aim to treat symptoms resulting from a traumatic experience. Trauma-informed care, however, is an approach to treatment that uses an understanding of the impact of trauma to ensure the environment is welcoming.
Staff strive to keep their space engaging and comforting. Services aim to welcome their recipients. The specific needs after a traumatic experience drive the services offered. The main goal of care is to prevent re-traumatizing a patient or reduce barriers to continuing care.
Professionals who work in trauma-informed care have a deeper understanding of trauma, its effects, and the wounds it leaves. They collaborate with all care facility members to aid in the recovery process from start to finish. More importantly, they audit themselves to ensure knowledge is ongoing and triggers are minimized.
The Principles of Trauma-Informed Care:
There are principles organizations can use to structure their processes around patient care.
- Safety: The most important principle of trauma-informed care is creating a safe space. For treatment to be effective, patients need to feel safe. Any staff member interacting with a patient aims to ensure that the patient and family are physically, psychologically, and emotionally safe. Waiting areas and treatment rooms are designed with trauma in mind, leaving space for individuals so they aren’t re-traumatized by close contact with strangers. Lights are properly placed to promote security, especially at night. Security guards may be used in facilities. Even certain yoga studios incorporate trauma-informed practice by not providing hands-on corrections during class time.
- Trust and Transparency: Many trauma survivors struggle with building trust and relationships, especially after abuse, assault, or violence. This difficulty with trust may make it significantly harder to seek the proper help. Staff operating under trauma-informed care understand the weight of this factor and know the importance of building trust and being transparent with their clientele. They also incorporate this concept into policies and procedures that impact patient care. Staff receive additional training on the matter. Patients receive clear explanations of the care they receive and any associated costs.
- Peer Support: To provide trauma-informed care, professionals need to know their limitations and strengths. Background in a specific type of trauma may be the best option for providing care for similar types of trauma. Shared experience and background create a sense of peer rather than superior. By forming this bond, the patient can open up more about their whole experience. Trauma-informed practitioners focus more on meeting your needs as an equal than on trying to fix your problems.
- Collaboration: A team approach is taken to develop a treatment plan. Patients play an active role in the process and decisions. Formulating the care plan around daily life demands and duties improves the sense of security.
- Reduction of Biases: Racial, gender and cultural biases can play a role in trauma experiences. Trauma-informed care accounts for these factors and attempts to eliminate them from practice. Special requests are better accommodated. Modifications and adaptations are made to make the patient feel more understood.
- Empowerment: A trauma-informed practitioner will work to empower their patients. They will encourage comfort in owning and sharing their experiences to promote true healing.