What is trauma-informed care? It is a form of care that recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and their role in shaping an individual’s life after a trauma. Understanding trauma and its treatment is easier when looking at trauma-informed care examples, goals, and outcomes. These examples and the best treatment outcomes form the basis of evidence-based therapeutic approaches.
Additionally, this fundamental shift in assessing a mental health or substance use disorder is instrumental in providing the right diagnosis and treatment. Trauma-informed care is concerned with addressing the symptoms of trauma and helping an individual overcome or manage these symptoms.
Trauma is a person’s response to a disturbing or distressing event. A traumatic can cause feelings of helplessness, diminish a person’s positive self-image, and make it difficult to cope with the subsequent symptoms. It can also hinder a person’s ability to feel a full range of emotions in all types of situations.
Traumatic events may include:
- Military combat
- Physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse
- Experiencing physical pain
- The death of a loved one
- Witnessing a natural disaster
- Growing up in a volatile or neglectful home
A person who experiences a trauma may feel as though their life, integrity, or dignity are severely threatened. As a result, they often go into a flight or fight state to defend themselves.
Common Responses and Symptoms of Trauma
In most cases, a person who has witnessed or experienced a traumatic event will not go through the symptoms right away. It can take months or years for the symptoms to manifest. When they do occur, they can affect every area of a person’s life, including their emotional state, health, relationships, jobs, or ability to function daily.
Common symptoms of trauma may include:
- Difficulty with relationships
- Changes in appetite and sleeping
- Depression or anxiety
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Post-traumatic stress disorder or acute stress disorder
A person who exhibits two or more symptoms as a result of a traumatic event may need to get professional help at a trauma or addiction treatment center.
What Is Trauma-Informed Care?
Trauma-informed care understands that a person dealing with the symptoms of trauma needs a wide range of care that includes comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. Trauma-informed care seeks to do the following:
Understand the Widespread Impact of Trauma
As the effects of trauma develop over time, they have an impact on virtually every area of a person’s life. This can be emotionally crippling, causing a person to have difficulty with specific circumstances or situations in their life.
Recognize the Symptoms of Trauma
A person who has PTSD or other symptoms of trauma may not realize that they are struggling with trauma-related problems. They may fail to make the connection between the trauma and the symptoms, or they may attribute the symptom to some other issue.
Create More Awareness About the Symptoms of Trauma
Treatment centers must not integrate policies, procedures, and practices that promote more awareness about the effects of trauma in patients. Treatment specialists must learn or relearn about trauma based on the most current data available.
Actively Avoid Re-Traumatization
Treatment specialists may make the mistake of re-traumatization by encouraging the individual to revisit the traumatic event. This can cause a person to have to relive the trauma all over again. Treatment centers need to discover and integrate other forms of therapy that prevent re-traumatization.
Trauma-Informed Care Examples
Each person experiences trauma in their own way, even if the traumatic experiences are very similar. In this way, even siblings raised in the same abusive or neglectful home environment could manifest symptoms of that trauma in very different ways. Some trauma-informed care examples of goals and outcomes include the following:
- Empowering the Individual – Ensuring that individuals have a say in their treatment plans and are part of the decision-making process, empowering them to take control of their healing.
- Cultural Sensitivity – Incorporating practices that are respectful and aware of the cultural background of individuals, recognizing the impact of cultural context on trauma.
- Safety Focus – Creating a physical and emotional environment where individuals feel safe and secure is fundamental before any healing can occur.
- Holistic Approach – Addressing not just the symptoms of trauma but the entire well-being of the individual, including physical, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects.
- Peer Support – Encouraging the formation of support groups or networks with others who have experienced similar traumas, facilitating a sense of community and mutual support.
- Education on Trauma – Providing individuals and their families with education about trauma and its impact, helping them to understand their own experiences and reactions better.
- Integration of Treatment Services – Coordinating between different types of services (such as mental health, physical health, and social services) to ensure that all aspects of an individual’s needs are addressed.
- Avoidance of Triggers – Recognizing and avoiding words, situations, or procedures that might retraumatize the individual, as well as being mindful of potential triggers in treatment settings.
- Trauma-Specific Interventions – Utilizing therapeutic approaches that are specifically designed to address the effects of trauma, such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, and sensory integration techniques.
- Confidentiality and Privacy – Maintaining a high level of confidentiality and privacy to protect the individual’s information and foster a trustful environment for treatment.
These examples of trauma-informed care outcomes and goals demonstrate its crucial role in behavioral health treatment.
Learn More About Trauma-Informed Care At Women’s Recovery
What is trauma-informed care? Find out more by contacting Women’s Recovery. We offer a wide range of treatments for PTSD and other disorders associated with trauma. Contact Women’s Recovery online or at 833.754.0554 to learn more about your treatment options.