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Trauma-Informed Care Thought of the Month

Part of creating change is having the courage to tell your own story.

We hear a lot about trauma and its effects these days, but what qualifies as trauma and why practice trauma-informed care?

Trauma is the body's reaction to an event that a person finds highly stressful and is often a result of a threat to their life or body safety. A person affected by trauma may have experienced the event firsthand or witnessed an event that threatened the life or safety of a loved one.

Examples of events that can cause trauma include (but is not limited to):

  • Death of a loved one
  • Physical, psychological or sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Accident or Illness
  • Natural disasters
  • Bullying
  • Car accidents
  • Being a victim or witnessing interpersonal, domestic or community violence

Trauma impacts kids, families, and the entire community by disrupting healthy development and family functioning. Children who suffer from traumatic stress are exposed to one or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that affect their physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and social functioning. In addition to short-term consequences, children who experience more ACEs have increased risk for physical and mental health problems as well as justice system involvement as adults.


Trauma-Informed Care at Beech Brook

For more than 20 years, Beech Brook has been a leader in supporting trauma-informed care, a treatment framework and overall organizational philosophy which involves recognizing and responding to the signs and symptoms of trauma to better support the needs of those who have experienced ACEs and toxic stress. As an early adopter of this approach, we strive to remain on the cutting edge of the field. We train, supervise, and deliver direct services with an eye to trauma and secondary traumatic stress.

Beech Brook has participated in trauma collaboratives/communities on the county, state and national level to continuously inform and hone agency-wide trauma-informed care philosophy, concepts and practices. Among those are the:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) national initiatives
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
  • The National Council for Behavioral Health's 2019-2020 Trauma-Informed, Resilience-Oriented Learning Community

When working with the kids and families we serve, our staff devote constant attention to the potential impact of traumatic experiences and focus on care, respect, and non-coercive interactions.

With a goal of bringing trauma-informed care to life throughout the agency, Beech Brook's Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) Team focuses on enhancing our culture to one of empathy, connection, empowerment, and resiliency. The TIC Team evaluates and makes recommendations on policies, procedures, training, and supervision to ensure that we are sensitive to all the effects of trauma when providing our services and in our interactions with each other. Key principles of our trauma-informed care philosophy include trauma awareness, emphasis of safety, opportunities for empowerment and strength-based approaches.


Trauma-Informed Treatments

While all services offered at Beech Brook are rooted in trauma-informed care principles, clinicians receive advanced training in the following evidence-based and promising practices specific to the treatment of children and families impacted by trauma.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an evidence-based psychotherapy model designed for children or adolescents who are experiencing emotional or behavioral difficulties as a result of a traumatic life event. TF-CBT is a structured treatment model that works to reduce trauma-related symptoms by engaging both the child and caregiver.

Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT)

Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a family focused intervention that targets the clinical problems associated with exposure to excessive conflict, aggression, or use of physical force. AF-CBT emphasizes family strengths and teaches skills to parents and children to promote safety.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

This evidence-based parent training intervention program teaches caregivers specific behavior management techniques to use as they play with their child. PCIT focuses on improving the caregiver-child relationship and increasing children's positive behaviors.

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