What Is Trauma Informed Care?
Background Information About Trauma Informed Care
TIC is based on growing knowledge about the negative impact of psychological trauma. Trauma is common in society and among service recipients. The service system can retraumatize individuals affecting their willingness to participate and engage.
To better understand some of the terminology that is commonly used to address the widespread impact of trauma, download this Key Terms resource. The intention of the list is to be valuable, inclusive, and honor the array of potentially toxic experiences that exist.
Harris and Fallot1 introduced the idea of TIC in their influential publication, Using Trauma Theory to Design Service Systems: New Directions for Mental Health Services. Since that time, significant effort has been made to define and clarify a trauma informed approach and incorporate this framework in policies, practices, and workforce development.
Although service providers and agency leaders are anxious to implement trauma informed practices, much of the conversation about trauma informed care remains abstract. As more becomes known about the application of TIC, the service sector will benefit from practical and concrete examples for implementation.
Principles of Trauma Informed Care
Many principles, values, and beliefs have been used to guide TIC practice. Those listed below are well accepted in the field. TIO has also created a resource about the principles of trauma informed care to help you learn more.
Trauma Awareness: Those who are trauma informed will understand the prevalence and impact of trauma among their service recipients and within the workforce. Policy and practice reflect this awareness and may be supported with activities such as screening and assessments.
Safety: Policy and practice reflect a commitment to provide physical and emotional safety for service recipients and staff.
Choice & Empowerment: to facilitate healing and avoid re-traumatization, choice and empowerment are part of trauma informed service delivery, for both service recipients and staff.
Strengths Based: With a focus on strength and resilience, service recipients and staff build skills that will help them move in a positive direction.
(Hopper, Bassuk, & Olivet, 2010)