Realize the prevalence of trauma
The word “trauma” is used to describe experiences or situations that are emotionally painful, distressing and that overwhelm people’s ability to cope. It often refers to intense events such as violence and assault but it can also be the sum of more subtle and continuous events such as discrimination, racism, oppression, and poverty which, when experienced chronically, have a cumulative impact that can be fundamentally life-altering.
Trauma can be linked to such things as chronic fear and anxiety and have serious long-term effects on health and other life outcomes.
Trauma is a public health risk of major proportions. Moreover, it often compounds medical and psychological conditions and injuries. This information too often goes unrecognized or under-recognized by medical and mental health practitioners. We have a major education, prevention and intervention issue – Christine A. Courtois and Julian D. Ford
Trauma-informed practices take into account an understanding of the prevalence and impact of trauma and integrate that understanding into all components of the organization.
Trauma-informed practices require that organizations:
Recognize how trauma affects all individuals involved with the organization and its programs or services, including its own staff and volunteers
Respond by putting that knowledge into practice
How does one go about that?
Trauma-informed practices have, at their core, six guiding principles:
Choice and control
Relational and collaborative approaches
Strengths-based empowerment modalities
Where to start?
A few favorites to start getting informed on the importance of and the “how-to” of a trauma-informed practice.
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