What is Trauma?
After an incident or experience that an individual finds agonizing or deeply disturbing, a psychological or emotional response often takes place. Trauma can have a significant impact, or none at all; trauma can be long-lasting, or fleeting in nature.
Anything from a car accident, losing a loved one, being abandoned, suffering emotional abuse or anything that is distressing in nature can cause trauma.
The key rule is that events are all subjective – or in the eye of the beholder – therefore, what harms one individual may have absolutely no effect on another. Some individuals will be scarred by past traumatic experiences for the rest of their life, while others who have faced the worst imaginable circumstances may be fine.
The recent study of trauma is much more in-depth than anything we’ve previously seen, and the wide-ranging impacts on life are becoming more and more understood. Being impacted by trauma, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is not a sign of being weak.
There are many categories of trauma that have been established by Psychologists, including PTSD, Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) and Complex Trauma.
What is Trauma-Informed Care?
In recognition of the prevalent nature of trauma, and the fact it is found in the vast majority of addiction cases, a variety of care that explicitly avoids re-traumatization was established. Focused on the promotion of healing and offering of recovery, Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) is applied in a very intentional fashion.
Starting from a baseline that assumes the presence of trauma, care-providers are able to look for the symptoms of traumatic incidents and treat their lasting impact. Rather than blame the individual or even their circumstances, Trauma-Informed Care acknowledges the role trauma plays and has played in the client’s life.
With an emphasis on respecting and appropriately treating the effects of all levels of trauma, the care environment shifts in a more compassionate direction.
Trauma-Informed Care In Practice
Rather than being direct when asking a sensitive question, we’ll first explain why it is that we’re asking the question. Instead of sitting in judgement, it is important to establish a rapport and emphasize the fact that the caregiver can be relied upon.
If the client we are helping seems as though they are teetering on the edge, the question of whether pressing on will do more damage than good is explored. Patience is not only a virtue in regular life but it is a foundation of providing Trauma-Informed Care.
When we discover the type of trauma an individual is suffering from, and what the initial cause is, activities can be undertaken to first increase the comfort of discussing the particular subject, and then helping the client understand what about the incident was traumatic in the first place (and why the feelings aren’t going away).
In treatment, many clients arrive with heavy burdens of shame and guilt. A Trauma-Informed environment seeks to immediately quell those types of long-lasting feelings. Past experiences are often not the client’s fault, and if we’re being honest, even if they are the client’s fault, dwelling on them doesn’t do any good.
We seek to provide a clean slate. We provide the roadmap back to loving oneself.
Learn about Solid Ground, a Trauma-Informed Treatment Centre.