Trauma Informed Care

Trauma informed care is an intentional approach to understanding and interacting with people who have or may be experiencing trauma. It assumes that most people are likely to have at least one traumatic event at some point in their lives and that, for some, this impacts the way they perceive the world and engage with others.

Trauma Informed Care Approaches

At the heart of trauma informed care is an understanding that individuals cope with trauma in unique ways. Even though these coping skills make sense to the individual who experienced the trauma, others may not comprehend them. By asking “what happened to you?” rather  than “what’s wrong with you?” trauma informed approaches foster accepting and supportive environments that can minimize the impact of traumatic events and prevent re-traumatization.

Trauma Informed care approaches:

  • Focus on reducing risk of exposure to trauma by creating safe, supportive, and inclusive environments
  • Use strategies to buffer against impact when exposure happens
  • Provide culturally responsive interventions to promote individual and community resilience

The 4 R’s of Trauma Informed approaches:

  • Realize the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in people receiving services, families, staff, and others involved with systems
  • Respond by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices
  • Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization

Becoming Trauma Informed

Becoming trauma informed is a process that begins with a general awareness of what trauma is and evolves as members of a group or organization gain knowledge, develop skills, and implement trauma responsive policies and practices at all levels.

Organizational Transition to Trauma Responsiveness

The 6 Guiding Principles to a Trauma Informed Approach (SAMHSA)

  • Safety
  • Trustworthiness and transparency
  • Peer Support
  • Collaboration and mutuality
  • Empowerment, voice and choice
  • Cultural, historical, and gender issues

Anyone will benefit from becoming trauma informed. However, it is critical for people and organizations who provide health and social services to become trauma informed – particularly if they serve individuals and families who have experienced trauma or who bear disproportionate risk for adversities such as racism or poverty. This is not only essential for the well-being of the clients being served but for those who provide services.

As a backbone organization, Trauma Matters Delaware supports trauma informed approaches through coaching activities, training, and by promoting information about available resources.

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Trauma Informed Initiatives in Delaware: Share Information on What Your Group or Organization is Doing

Trauma Matters Delaware (TMD) and the Primary/Secondary/Vicarious Trauma and Resilience Work Group are gathering information regarding trauma informed efforts underway in Delaware. We will share this information on the TMD website to encourage groups and organizations doing this work to collaborate, coordinate, and support each other’s efforts. Please take a few minutes to complete this form if your organization is interested in becoming trauma informed or has already begun to conduct activities to raise awareness of trauma, its impact, and resilience. Thank you for all of your work to make Delaware a trauma responsive state!

Resources for Trauma Informed Care

What is Trauma Informed Care?
University of Buffalo – Buffalo Center for Social Research

SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Promoting Resilience: Self-Care Resources for Professionals
Delaware Primary/Secondary/Vicarious Trauma and Resilience Work Group

Developmental Framework for Trauma-Informed Individuals