What is Trauma-Informed Care?
Trauma-informed care is both a philosophy and a way of providing services based on compelling research over the past 20 years. The research indicates the exposure to trauma is not only dramatically more prevalent than previously known, but also closely linked to many detrimental medical, psychological and social outcomes throughout an individual’s lifespan. Trauma exposure is also cumulative, meaning that as the number of adverse childhood experiences increases, so does the level of impairment and problems.
Exposure to adverse experiences is especially harmful during childhood when the brain is in a rapid stage of development. Immediate mental health interventions offer real hope for minimizing negatives consequences, but even in situations where the traumatic experiences occurred long ago, new and proven treatment models, such as those used at Beech Brook, are achieving measurable outcomes of success.
What does it mean to be a Trauma-Informed Care Agency?
In addition to specialized treatments, trauma-informed agencies examine every aspect of their management and service delivery systems to ensure they support healing. This includes:
Having an appreciation for the high prevalence of traumatic experiences for all people in our society and particularly in persons who receive mental health treatment.
What Does It Mean to Create a Culture of Trauma-Informed Care?
At Beech Brook, this means:
- Developing a culture of physical and emotional safety for everyone: clients, their families and staff alike.
- Having the belief and understanding that everyone is born with the capacity for progressive development, but that this capacity can be derailed by overwhelming life stressors and traumatic experiences. As a result of these events, individuals may develop maladaptive coping skills that make sense in the context of the history. This is true for clients, their family members, as well as staff members at all levels of the agency.
- Surfacing and resolving conflicts.
- Promoting and valuing honest communication.
- Respecting everyone’s feelings and perspectives, even when they differ.
- Maintaining and supporting emotional regulation for self and others.
- Extending kindness and compassion while maintaining healthy boundaries
- Working from a strength-based approach that honors the belief that everyone is doing the best he or she knows how.
- Having and cultivating a fun attitude with one another about whatever has to be done, as well as doing whatever has to be done with a sense of enjoyment!
- Using group process, group problem solving, and creative problem-solving, whenever feasible, for resolution of shared problems.