What is Trauma-Informed Care?

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In a previous blog, we briefly discussed the definition of trauma and its insidious impact on our society. So how do we deal with this? Trauma-informed care is being integrated into hospitals, programs, practices, and even schools due to its effectiveness across the lifespan and across demographics. 

 

Photo retrieved from unsplash.

Trauma-informed care transforms the questions patients are asked such as:

“what is wrong with you?”

to the much more inclusive and validating:

what happened to you?”

This shift drives a new era of mental healthcare that vehemently fights the stigma and silence of mental illness through the exploration of a patient’s biopsychosocial and trauma histories to better understand their

Retrieved from unsplash

As discussed in the previous blog referenced above, trauma causes neurological change in one’s brain. These changes affect neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, and neurobiology which lead to a patient’s dysregulation — either hyperarousal or hypoarousal. Depending on which arousal state a patient frequently presents with (or a vacillation of the two), this will determine how they present to their outer world. For example, someone who is regularly in a state of hyperarousal may experience a heightened state of anxiety such as the fight or flight response and someone who is regularly in a state of hypoarousal may experience “emotional numbness” such as the freeze response. 

 

Trauma-informed care meets the patient where they are in their recovery. It focuses on developing adaptive coping, processing events, and identifying support systems in one’s life so as to continue their daily activities or to return to them in the least restrictive way possible. 

 

The future of healthcare is moving toward a trauma-informed, patient-centered, and healing centered engagement. More information can be found at the following sites: 

Trauma-Informed Care information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) & Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)

Key Ingredients for Trauma-Informed Care Implementation from SAMHSA

Trauma-Informed Health Care from What Works For Health

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About the Author:

Anastasia is a practicum student through Brightside Counseling. She has returned to school after having worked professionally in inpatient, outpatient, and intensive outpatient settings as a music therapist. Anastasia can be reached for consultation at: practicum@brightsidecounseling.net or via call/text at: (720)923-2322

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