The term trauma-informed has become an increasingly popular buzzword among the clinical and provider communities. But what does it really mean for your work, and what does it mean for the population(s) you serve? Here is a basic list to describe what it means to be trauma-informed:

What Does it Mean to be Trauma Informed?

  • Noticing and embracing that trauma is the expectation, not the exception – all beings experience trauma, just different levels
  • Awareness of how trauma effects the brain, body, spirit, sense of the world
  • Asking “What happened to you?” versus “What’s wrong with you?”
  • Minimize re-victimization and facilitate recovery for all clients in the most culturally sensitive  way we can, taking into account culture, race, gender, sexuality, spirituality, and other factors
  • Behaviors are understood not merely as complaints but as attempts to cope and survive
  • Services are based on the principles of safety, voice, and choice as defined by the people  we serve

For a helpful infographic on the effects, coping mechanisms and clinical approaches, visit The National Council for Behavioral Healthcare (Source: National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare)