What is Trauma?
Trauma is the emotional impact of certain physical, economic, psychological or environmental events and stressors. Trauma may include physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Trauma may be caused by domestic violence, community violence, war, loss, natural disaster, long-term exposure to maltreatment and other conditions.
- Developmental trauma may begin before birth and continue across one's lifetime.
- Trauma may be predictable or unforeseen.
- Results of trauma can include severe injury, feelings of helplessness, inability to cope, stress, relationship difficulties, health problems, mental health issues and more.
What is trauma-informed care?
- Promoting the understanding of what has happened to an individual rather than what is wrong with him or her.
- Understanding that traumatic events can impact people's behaviors, views, thoughts, and actions.
- Recognizing that we all have triggers.
- Identifying behavior changes and signs of discomfort.
- Changing how we interact in order to be compassionate.
What are trauma-sensitive practices?
- Ensuring each person feels physically and emotionally safe through calm and compassionate communication.
- Asking "What happened to you?" instead of "What's wrong with you?"
- Asking a person for feedback and involvement in designing his or her care plan.
- Acknowledging and supporting a person when he or she discloses a trauma.
- Accepting that what is labeled as the person's problem (smoking, addictions, obesity, etc.) is their solution to their problem (abuse, neglect, etc.).
What is a "trauma-informed community?"
A trauma-informed community…
- Is aware of and comprehends the root causes of an individual's trauma and the impact that trauma has on the community.
- Is committed to educating and providing resources that foster a safe and healthy environment where children and families can grow and develop.
- Has a network of schools, social service agencies, businesses, clergy, health care providers, safety and governmental offices and others who are committed to healing trauma through education, intervention and treatment of its effects.
- Allows individuals and groups define their own capacities when contributing to the development of a healthy community.