What Is Trauma-informed Care?

Reviewed Jun 2, 2017

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Summary

  • Looks for signs of trauma
  • Understands effects of trauma
  • Treat for trauma first

Trauma is thought to play a major role in mental health and drug use disorders. Many people with these disorders have gone through a traumatic event at some point in their life. Trauma may also lead to a number of physical ailments. People who have felt trauma will often have problems dealing with everyday stress. They may have trouble focusing and controlling their emotions. It may also be hard for them to trust people. A human service program that is trauma-informed sees the need to treat trauma first.

What is trauma?

Trauma can happen when a person is in danger and is afraid they or someone close to them will be killed or injured. It can also happen when a person sees someone else be killed or injured, or when they hear that a close friend or family member has been killed or injured. Trauma may result from a single event or a series of events. The events may be physical, sexual or mental in nature. They may involve violence or the threat of it.

Causes of trauma

Some of the causes include:

  • Physical, sexual, or mental abuse
  • Neglect
  • Crime
  • Natural or manmade disasters

People do not react in the same way to the same events. What causes trauma in one person may not cause it in someone else. There are many factors that determine whether a person feels traumatized. Cultural and ethnic backgrounds play a big role, as do spiritual values. The degree of family and social support are also major factors.

Kids are at an even greater risk. They can be abused, neglected, or bullied at school. They can also see domestic violence at home. This can lead to many problems, ranging from eating disorders and drinking, to teen pregnancies.

Effects of trauma

Here are some effects:

  • Violent or criminal behavior
  • Too much risk-taking
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Extreme fear or anxiety
  • Mental problems
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Thoughts of taking one's own life

Trauma-informed care

All traumas involve a sense of loss. This includes a loss of trust, safety, power, and hope. The aim of trauma-informed care is to realize and restore this loss. Dealing with the trauma first allows for the treatment and healing of other issues involved. The results are that victims now become survivors.

Some aspects of trauma-informed care:

  • Person-centered
  • Gender and ethnic specific
  • Affirming and empowering
  • Respectful and safe

A trauma-informed approach

This calls for a staff that is fully trained in trauma care and aware of anything that may set off re-traumatization. This means feeling scared or helpless by being in a situation that reminds you of the trauma. The use of restraints or isolation may need to be avoided. Putting the person at ease is the first concern. Healing will not start to take place until a bond of trust has been reached.

Proper trauma care involves a lot of individual input and family support. The person must be made to feel safe enough to tell her story without being re-traumatized. Once she feels she has been heard, the steps to recovery can begin. Slowly, feelings of fear and shame may be replaced with hope and even joy.

Resources

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
www.childhelp.org/pages/hotline-home
(800) 4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)

National Center for Victims of Crime
www.victimsofcrime.org
(800) FYI-CALL (800-394-2255)

National Domestic Violence Hotline
www.thehotline.org
(800) 799-SAFE (800-799-7233)
(800) 787-3224 (TDD)

National Sexual Assault Hotline
www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline
(800) 656-HOPE (800-656-4673)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
(800) 273-TALK (800-273-8255)

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, www.thenationalcouncil.org/cs/traumainformed_care_a_call_to_arms; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Adolescent Health

Summary

  • Looks for signs of trauma
  • Understands effects of trauma
  • Treat for trauma first

Trauma is thought to play a major role in mental health and drug use disorders. Many people with these disorders have gone through a traumatic event at some point in their life. Trauma may also lead to a number of physical ailments. People who have felt trauma will often have problems dealing with everyday stress. They may have trouble focusing and controlling their emotions. It may also be hard for them to trust people. A human service program that is trauma-informed sees the need to treat trauma first.

What is trauma?

Trauma can happen when a person is in danger and is afraid they or someone close to them will be killed or injured. It can also happen when a person sees someone else be killed or injured, or when they hear that a close friend or family member has been killed or injured. Trauma may result from a single event or a series of events. The events may be physical, sexual or mental in nature. They may involve violence or the threat of it.

Causes of trauma

Some of the causes include:

  • Physical, sexual, or mental abuse
  • Neglect
  • Crime
  • Natural or manmade disasters

People do not react in the same way to the same events. What causes trauma in one person may not cause it in someone else. There are many factors that determine whether a person feels traumatized. Cultural and ethnic backgrounds play a big role, as do spiritual values. The degree of family and social support are also major factors.

Kids are at an even greater risk. They can be abused, neglected, or bullied at school. They can also see domestic violence at home. This can lead to many problems, ranging from eating disorders and drinking, to teen pregnancies.

Effects of trauma

Here are some effects:

  • Violent or criminal behavior
  • Too much risk-taking
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Extreme fear or anxiety
  • Mental problems
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Thoughts of taking one's own life

Trauma-informed care

All traumas involve a sense of loss. This includes a loss of trust, safety, power, and hope. The aim of trauma-informed care is to realize and restore this loss. Dealing with the trauma first allows for the treatment and healing of other issues involved. The results are that victims now become survivors.

Some aspects of trauma-informed care:

  • Person-centered
  • Gender and ethnic specific
  • Affirming and empowering
  • Respectful and safe

A trauma-informed approach

This calls for a staff that is fully trained in trauma care and aware of anything that may set off re-traumatization. This means feeling scared or helpless by being in a situation that reminds you of the trauma. The use of restraints or isolation may need to be avoided. Putting the person at ease is the first concern. Healing will not start to take place until a bond of trust has been reached.

Proper trauma care involves a lot of individual input and family support. The person must be made to feel safe enough to tell her story without being re-traumatized. Once she feels she has been heard, the steps to recovery can begin. Slowly, feelings of fear and shame may be replaced with hope and even joy.

Resources

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
www.childhelp.org/pages/hotline-home
(800) 4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)

National Center for Victims of Crime
www.victimsofcrime.org
(800) FYI-CALL (800-394-2255)

National Domestic Violence Hotline
www.thehotline.org
(800) 799-SAFE (800-799-7233)
(800) 787-3224 (TDD)

National Sexual Assault Hotline
www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline
(800) 656-HOPE (800-656-4673)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
(800) 273-TALK (800-273-8255)

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, www.thenationalcouncil.org/cs/traumainformed_care_a_call_to_arms; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Adolescent Health

Summary

  • Looks for signs of trauma
  • Understands effects of trauma
  • Treat for trauma first

Trauma is thought to play a major role in mental health and drug use disorders. Many people with these disorders have gone through a traumatic event at some point in their life. Trauma may also lead to a number of physical ailments. People who have felt trauma will often have problems dealing with everyday stress. They may have trouble focusing and controlling their emotions. It may also be hard for them to trust people. A human service program that is trauma-informed sees the need to treat trauma first.

What is trauma?

Trauma can happen when a person is in danger and is afraid they or someone close to them will be killed or injured. It can also happen when a person sees someone else be killed or injured, or when they hear that a close friend or family member has been killed or injured. Trauma may result from a single event or a series of events. The events may be physical, sexual or mental in nature. They may involve violence or the threat of it.

Causes of trauma

Some of the causes include:

  • Physical, sexual, or mental abuse
  • Neglect
  • Crime
  • Natural or manmade disasters

People do not react in the same way to the same events. What causes trauma in one person may not cause it in someone else. There are many factors that determine whether a person feels traumatized. Cultural and ethnic backgrounds play a big role, as do spiritual values. The degree of family and social support are also major factors.

Kids are at an even greater risk. They can be abused, neglected, or bullied at school. They can also see domestic violence at home. This can lead to many problems, ranging from eating disorders and drinking, to teen pregnancies.

Effects of trauma

Here are some effects:

  • Violent or criminal behavior
  • Too much risk-taking
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Extreme fear or anxiety
  • Mental problems
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Thoughts of taking one's own life

Trauma-informed care

All traumas involve a sense of loss. This includes a loss of trust, safety, power, and hope. The aim of trauma-informed care is to realize and restore this loss. Dealing with the trauma first allows for the treatment and healing of other issues involved. The results are that victims now become survivors.

Some aspects of trauma-informed care:

  • Person-centered
  • Gender and ethnic specific
  • Affirming and empowering
  • Respectful and safe

A trauma-informed approach

This calls for a staff that is fully trained in trauma care and aware of anything that may set off re-traumatization. This means feeling scared or helpless by being in a situation that reminds you of the trauma. The use of restraints or isolation may need to be avoided. Putting the person at ease is the first concern. Healing will not start to take place until a bond of trust has been reached.

Proper trauma care involves a lot of individual input and family support. The person must be made to feel safe enough to tell her story without being re-traumatized. Once she feels she has been heard, the steps to recovery can begin. Slowly, feelings of fear and shame may be replaced with hope and even joy.

Resources

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
www.childhelp.org/pages/hotline-home
(800) 4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)

National Center for Victims of Crime
www.victimsofcrime.org
(800) FYI-CALL (800-394-2255)

National Domestic Violence Hotline
www.thehotline.org
(800) 799-SAFE (800-799-7233)
(800) 787-3224 (TDD)

National Sexual Assault Hotline
www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline
(800) 656-HOPE (800-656-4673)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
(800) 273-TALK (800-273-8255)

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, www.thenationalcouncil.org/cs/traumainformed_care_a_call_to_arms; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Adolescent Health

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