Table of Contents
There has been much discussion about trauma-informed care in the mental health community recently. It may leave you wondering what the basics are. To understand trauma-informed care, it is helpful if you have a clear understanding of what trauma is. Being informed about the effects of trauma on mental health can help you. Familiarizing yourself with different types of care will help you determine what kind of mental health services you may need.
Trauma is any event in a person’s life that results in physical or emotional harm. Any circumstance in which you face life-threatening harm is also considered trauma. These types of events might include childhood neglect or physical, emotional, or sexual abuse at any age. The loss of a loved one can also be a traumatic event. Ongoing exposure to a family member that struggles with mental health or substance use disorders (SUDs) may also be traumatic.
The Effects of Trauma
The effects of a traumatic incident can be long-lasting. Experiencing trauma in your life can have detrimental effects on your well-being. Not only can your mental health be affected, but your physical and social health as well. Trauma can make you more susceptible to developing physical health problems.
Having past experiences with trauma can often lead to an increase in risk-taking behaviors. Sometimes struggles with mental health stemming from trauma can develop into SUDs. Unfortunately, sometimes people can turn to things like drugs and alcohol to manage their negative emotions. Utilizing poor coping mechanisms can easily take a turn toward self-destructive behavior.
What Is Trauma-Informed Care?
Trauma-informed care is mental health treatment with special attention and care paid to the effects of trauma on a person. A therapist will be able to recognize the signs of trauma in their patients. They will realize the deep impact that it can have on a person’s overall well-being and approach treatment appropriately.
During the therapy process, the trauma can be addressed in a very sensitive manner to avoid causing more distress. Trauma-informed care has the potential to increase the effectiveness of mental health treatment for people who are dealing with issues from their past.
The Principles of Trauma-Informed Care
Six principles guide trauma-informed care. These principles should provide a solid foundation for dealing with trauma-related issues. Each principle should be given special consideration when establishing a relationship for mental health care. These principles include:
- Trustworthiness and transparency
- Peer support
- Collaboration & mutuality
- Empowerment and choice
- Cultural, historical & gender issues
So, what does this mean for you? In a therapy setting, it is important that you feel safe based on your unique definition and needs. Your mental health team should establish a relationship of trust and maintain transparency during your recovery process. Finding peer support from other trauma survivors can be a very helpful tool for processing your experiences and finding hope.
You should always have an equal voice when determining your treatment plan and throughout your treatment process. During your treatment, you receive help building resilience and recognizing your strengths, leading to higher levels of confidence. The services you receive should be sensitive to any racial, historical, or gender biases and be actively responsive to your needs.
What Makes Trauma-Informed Care Different?
Above all else, the keys to trauma-informed care are awareness and sensitivity to past trauma. If you have experienced trauma in your past, it can affect your confidence. It will also affect your ability to trust connections made with other people. Therapists who have been trained to provide treatment while being conscious of the effects of trauma can help you reestablish your sense of self.
If you have past traumas that need to be addressed, your therapist must be aware of the issues that may come up. As a trauma survivor, you may experience flashbacks, high anxiety, and other hurdles that you will need help to work through. Trauma-informed care means that your care team will be proactive in helping you through struggles while avoiding re-traumatization.
When you work with a team that has been trained in trauma-informed care, you can feel comfortable knowing that everyone you come into contact with will know how to address your recovery needs. Having a strong support system of people that understands trauma and knows how to help you deal with the effects is a powerful tool. It can help the success of your treatment plan.
Dealing with mental health struggles can be a unique journey when you also have factors from your past to take into consideration. Finding the right kind of support for you is essential. You will need someone who understands the scope and effects of trauma. The recovery process will be much more successful if you are receiving care that is catered to your unique needs.
If you are a trauma survivor and in need of help dealing with mental health struggles, finding the right team for your needs doesn’t have to be difficult. Awareness and sensitivity should be at the heart of your treatment process. At Alter Wellness Care, we have a compassionate team of professionals that can provide the most understanding and effective care. We strive to make each of our clients feel welcome and comfortable through every step of the treatment process. Trauma doesn’t have to be a roadblock on your journey to recovery. We can help you find the right services for you. Call us at (866) 311-3510 to find out how we can support you in achieving your goals.