What is Trauma Informed Care?
Mental health has been based on the assumption that something is wrong with an individual. Modern Psychopharmacology is targeted at finding a problem in a person’s brain and neurotransmitters. However that is not all true. Difficult circumstances in life affect our mental health as well. Traumas throughout our life add up. One of the conditions that is not recognized in our current mental health system is complex PTSD. This is trauma that happens over a long period and can affect the personality formation of a person. Trauma informed care pays extra emphasis in screening for traumas in a person and then providing support with therapies that are particularly geared towards healing trauma.
How is it different from conventional psychological care?
Instead of “what is wrong with this person”, a trauma informed perspective is, “what has happened to this person”.?
Who is traumatized?
Trauma informed care believes that more often than not, traumatic experiences are present in most people.
How can trauma hide in plain view?
One of the dilemmas of trauma is that the victim does not acknowledge it. To carry on in life, the victim makes such excuses as “Other people have it worse”, “It could be worse”, “If I had been stronger..” It requires a good assessment to find the hidden traumas in a person’s life and to discover its effects.
Various conditions are manifestations of trauma:
- Eating disorders
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Excessive guilt
- Uncontrollable anger
- Feelings of loneliness
Why is it important?
If this trauma is not discovered, treatment remains suboptimal. Trauma informed care does not require symptom treatment. Instead it requires healing. Treatment of trauma requires growth of a person. This growth is the treatment that helps a person become resilient. This growth is often psycho-spiritual in nature.
What does it involve?
Trauma informed care involves:
- A comprehensive assessment
- Establishment of safety
- Preventing re-traumatization
- Uncovering and emphasizing the ability to choose
- Establishing trust
- Collaboration in decision making
Can you give a real world example?
Substance use disorder is often considered to have multiple etiologies including genetic, social and psychological. In Trauma Informed care a person who is using substances is seen as trying to cope with the painful aspects of trauma. It is seen as a survival mechanism and a mechanism to deal with retraumatization.