Trauma-informed care is in the details.
It assumes people are people.
And people experience trauma.
Trauma informed care or TIC assumes that every person may have a history of trauma, so steps are taken to minimize harm by anticipating triggers and promoting a culture of safety and healing.
Trauma-informed care was originally an organizational framework for healthcare organizations that interact with patients, like hospitals, but it has been expanded over time to other settings, like education, explains Dr. Lauren Ng, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles and director of the Treatment and Research for the Underserved with Stress and Trauma (TRUST) Lab.
What is the meaning of trauma-informed care?
In a whitepaper published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, researchers described that from a healthcare perspective, TIC aims to understand a patient’s life experiences in order to deliver effective care. It has been shown that TIC has the potential to improve patient engagement, increase treatment adherence, improve health outcomes and promote a culture of provider and staff wellness.
Ng explains that trauma-informed care in action is that, “each individual within the organization has an understanding of how difficult life events might impact someone and their sense of safety in coming to that location, their perceptions of the type of care they are going to receive, and their reactions to how people treat them.”.
She adds, “It’s both having knowledge about that and then having approaches that make people feel more safe and comfortable.”.
What are examples of trauma-informed care?
To make it easier to understand. Here are some examples:.
“You might have seen in a healthcare setting signs that say, ‘Do you want to have someone accompany you?’ In the medical office room, or directly asking someone about difficult experiences they have had,” Ng says.
Another example is some providers make sure if they “have a security guard that they’re not at the very front because that could trigger a traumatic reaction in an individual” if they’ve endured certain experiences.
How can you help people that have gone through something traumatic?
“Unfortunately, most people will experience difficult life events and many people will experience multiple difficult life events,” Ng explains. “But the positive side is that most people will not actually go on to develop something like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) There is some subset that will, but most people, sort of naturally, their symptoms or distress will kind of return to their baseline,” she assures.
Ng says that the best way to help people through a tough time is to be positive social support. She explains a few ways to show the person that you care about them:.
“It goes a long way, showing that you’re there for them and that they can talk if they want to talk. That it’s OK, and that there’s no shame associated with whatever particular thing happened. A lot of survivors carry a lot of shame, blame and guilt. You know that it’s inaccurate, so being able to be that person who can reflect that can be very helpful.”.
Read more about trauma here:
Trauma isn’t just psychological. It can impact your body too.
More:Why that sudden ‘Succession’ death may have felt like real trauma.
Dig deeper:What does generational trauma look like?
What is trauma bonding? Why you may be misunderstanding this cycle of abuse.
Feeling stressed? Tips for how to reduce stress in your daily life.
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