What is Trauma-Informed Care?

An introduction to Trauma-Informed Care and how it can be used…

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An introduction to Trauma-Informed Care:

By Colm Gallagher

Often when we want to find out what trauma informed care we will come across phrases like “It’s not about asking what is wrong with you but asking What has happened to you”. 

And this is indeed a good overview of how trauma-informed care has originated.  It is a move away from medicalised understandings of mental distress i.e. that we are the way we are because of ‘chemical imbalances in the brain’ or because of our genes. 

Please see Little evidence that chemical imbalance causes depression, UCL scientists find | Depression | The Guardian or What Do Twin Studies Prove About Genetic Influences on Psychiatric Disorders? Absolutely Nothing – Mad In America for more information on the this or if you want to get an idea of the wider debates around the origins of mental health issues see 54th Maudsley Debate – 11 May 2016 – YouTube or other Maudsley debates.

Trauma-informed care asks us to dig a little deeper into our understanding of emotional distress and our coping strategies for this distress including using alcohol or substances.

The picture below gives us some understanding of the things we need to pay attention to in our environments which can affect us.

What is trauma informed care?

Trauma informed care is an approach to engaging people with histories of trauma that recognises the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that trauma has played in their lives.

But only doing so when the person is ready to do so, and to help and support the person with what they wish to have help and support with as much as possible (and which is appropriate to our role).

When thinking about being trauma informed.  I think of give key principals.  The first being Safety.  That the person is able to feel safe within themselves and safe in their environment.

The second is Trust – that the person can be provided clear and consistent information.  That the person has a choice and options in their support and treatment.

That the person is involved in their support, which is collaborative in the planning and implementation of any support offered, and therefore in turn that the person feels empowered in the decisions which affect their lives.

To be trauma-informed services need to recognise signs of trauma (feeling unsafe, low mood, trust issues, disempowered, anxious, panicky, sleep problems, using alcohol or substances, heaving voices etc); we must be committed to unintentionally causing harm, and being responsive to the needs, values, ethics and morals of each other.

Trauma Informed Care Infographic: Approaches & Key Concepts of Trauma-Informed Care

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What is Trauma-Informed Care?

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