Just recently I came across some of these resources on Trauma Informed Care after another colleague pointed me in the right direction. I knew a lot about it because it was how I did therapy when I was actively working as a professional. I did what I felt made sense based on my own experiences with Trauma. I didn’t have a name for what I did. I just knew the principles and values worked for me and others I worked with over the years. What Trauma Informed Care seeks to do is remind us how prevalent trauma actually is in the lives of these around us. We have a habit of trying to put trauma into categories. What we often overlook is that trauma is experienced by everyone in a different way. As an example: Two people can lose a father. On the outside, they may seem to be doing ok but internally, it is often a different story. Each person has their own childhood memories of who and what Daddy is. What kind of current relationship they had with the Father before he died makes a difference. Did the person depend on the father for money, emotional support, guidance, status, or acceptance?
How old the person is makes a difference and what developmental stage they are in effects outcomes. What kind of social support does each person have? Does he have a Faith that can help sustain him? Was he proud or ashamed of his father? Did he love him or hate him? What kind of impact will the death have on his own life or life style. Will his role in the family change because his father died? As you can see, so many factors enter in. His coping skills for dealing with loss and change also influence the outcome. Past violence and victimization will have a significant impact in the loss and the feeling of helplessness.
Too often with losses, we tend to want a person’s reaction to be over as soon as possible, because we do not want to deal with our uncomfortable feelings and we don’t want to dwell on the new awareness that we too will one day die. Losses that can end up traumatizing people are: Divorce, a child taken away from his parents, the loss of a job, unfairness and bullying happening at work, poverty, child abuse, domestic violence, Church conflict or being thrown out of the Church, auto accidents, deaths, illness, and many other losses
Instead of pathologizing, we need to validate the emotions and thoughts they are having. We need to normalize a lot of what they are experiencing. We will build trust and the feeling that it’s OK for them to tell us how things are really going with them. Helping them recover is a priority after their world has been turned upside down. It is important to help them take charge of their life, to be involved in the treatment plan, and to allow them to have choices and control of their lives in the treatment setting. The work needs to build on their strengths, increase their social networks and resources, and teach new coping skills. Empowerment of the person should be the consistent focus of treatment and enabling them to regain a sense of hope in the future. Below are some resources on Trauma Informed Care.
Fallot, Roger D. (1-28-11). Trauma-Informed Care: A Values-Based Context for Psychosocial Empowerment.
Elliott, Denise E.; Paula B.; Elajac; Fallar, Roger; Markoff, Laurie S.; and Glover Reed, Beth. ( July/2005). Journal Of Community Psychology. Trauma Informed or Trauma Denied: Principles of Trauma-Informed Services for Women.
Wisconsin Trauma-Informed Care Advisory Committee. Dept. of Health Services, State of Wisconsin.P-00202. (6/2013). The Values of Trauma-Informed Care.
Hodas, GR. Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. (Feb./2006). Part II of the Promise and Practice of Trauma Informed Care.