What is trauma-informed care?

“Trauma-informed care (TIC) provides a new perspective where those providing the support shift from asking “What is wrong with you?” to “What has happened to you?” This change reduces the blame and shame that some people experience when being labeled. It also builds an understanding of how the past impacts the present, which effectively makes the connections that progress toward healing and recovery.”

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Being trauma-informed requires a paradigm shift

Becoming trauma-informed is a process through which we use knowledge about the prevalence and impact of traumatic stress to reexamine how we see, interpret, and interact with people. Trauma-informed care is a principle-based culture change process, and being trauma-informed requires viewing the world through a new lens. It is not a therapy, intervention, or specific action; it is an all encompassing paradigm shift. It’s also important to remember that trauma-informed care is not just for service providers; it is universally applicable and everyone has a role to play!

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Trauma-informed care can help to overcome toxic stress and change one’s life course

“Traumatic stress from experiences such as child abuse, homelessness, or interpersonal violence can have life-long damaging effects on health, learning, and social development if left unaddressed. In this video interview, Carmela DeCandia, an expert on trauma in AIR’s Health and Social Development Program, explains what trauma-informed care is and how it can help people overcome such traumatic stress.”

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Exposure to traumatized individuals may result in vicarious trauma

It is important for those working directly with traumatized populations to recognize vicarious trauma and seek necessary self-care.

“Secondary Traumatic Stress is a negative feeling driven by fear and work-related trauma. It is important to remember that some trauma at work can be direct (primary) trauma. In other cases, work-related trauma is a combination of both primary and secondary trauma. If working with others suffering changes you so deeply in negative ways that your understanding of yourself changes, this is vicarious traumatization.”

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Tools are available to help operationalize trauma-informed care

“What’s next?” is the question many find themselves asking when they become aware of the prevalence and impact of traumatic stress. While there is no one thing or simple action to take in order to become trauma-informed, there are ample tools and resources to help with deepening your understanding of the paradigm shift required and get you started. Two of them are as follows:

Self-Assessment and Planning Protocol
Self-Evaluation of Current System