Understanding Trauma Informed Care
What is Trauma-Informed Therapy?
Trauma-informed care (TIC) has gained popularity among mental health professionals in recent years. It’s a type of therapy that focuses on the impact of trauma on a person’s mental health through a person-centered approach. This means that each client is assessed as a whole, taking into consideration all areas of their life that may have been impacted by traumatic experience(s).
Trauma-informed therapists are knowledgeable about the impacts of trauma and are careful not to trigger or re-traumatize their clients inadvertently. This approach to therapy emphasizes the importance of ensuring that clients feel both physically and emotionally safe in their sessions.
Trauma Therapy: An Overview
Before we delve deeper into TIC, let us first understand what trauma therapy is. Trauma therapy is a type of therapy that aims to address the effects of trauma on the person’s overall well being and functioning and help them to adapt to their life post-trauma. It focuses on the person’s strengths, resources, and resilience while recognizing the impact of trauma on a person’s mental health. It acknowledges that people who have experienced trauma may present with unique needs and challenges that may present differently than someone who has not experienced trauma.
PRINCIPLES OF TRAUMA INFORMED THERAPY
- A Safe and Supportive Environment
Trauma-informed providers create a safe therapeutic environment for their clients by establishing boundaries, providing structure, and ensuring confidentiality.
Trauma-informed providers honor transparency in the therapeutic alliance, communicate clearly with their clients and respect their boundaries.
- Flexibility & Empowerment
Trauma-informed providers help their clients develop coping skills and empower them to take control of their lives. This starts with empowerment in the therapeutic relationship, as the client is in control and leads the therapeutic pace. Providers are willing to adapt their approach to meet the client’s needs and are responsive to their clients’ feedback.
- Mind-Body Therapy
Trauma-informed providers use a variety of techniques to address the client’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs. Mind-body therapy techniques include mindfulness, yoga, and meditation.
- A Collaborative Approach
Trauma-informed providers collaborate with their clients and involve them in the decision-making process.
- Cultural Humility
Trauma-informed providers are culturally competent and respect their clients’ beliefs and values.
- Empathy and Support
Trauma-informed providers are compassionate, non-judgmental and are empathetic to their clients through the healing process
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The Benefits of Trauma Informed Care
TIC can provide assistance to individuals who have gone through trauma, whether it occurred during childhood or as an adult. Even if someone is not in therapy specifically for their trauma, this approach can help maintain emotional safety during sessions.
It’s worth noting that not everyone has experienced trauma, but adopting a trauma-informed approach during therapy sessions won’t harm those who haven’t. As a result, many therapists use this approach in all of their sessions, rather than just when dealing with specific traumatic events.
The Effectiveness of Trauma Informed Therapy
While trauma-informed therapy doesn’t refer to a specific set of therapeutic interventions, it has been shown to be beneficial for both youth and adults who have experienced trauma. Additionally, it can help trauma survivors address feelings of guilt and shame that often accompany such experiences.
Starting the journey towards healing from trauma can feel overwhelming, but getting the right support can help ease the burden. If you are considering trauma-informed therapy, take the time to find a therapist who is trained in trauma-informed care and who you feel comfortable talking to and who you trust. Clients who receive trauma-informed care can expect a safe and supportive environment, a collaborative approach, mind-body therapy, flexibility, empathy and support.
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