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Trauma Informed Approaches blog

Integrating Trauma-Informed Approaches: Changing How We View and Respond to Trauma

As part of our series on trauma-informed evaluation approaches, we first delved into different ways trauma is defined and how it impacts individuals or groups. Because trauma is widespread and can have such a strong impact on individuals or groups, it is pertinent to understand how to best engage with and support individuals who have experienced trauma. In this blog post, we next discuss one approach to working with those individuals: Trauma-Informed Care (TIC).

TIC is a well-studied, strengths-based approach that started in the healthcare sector to improve patient care by emphasizing healing from trauma. The approach focuses on developing a deep understanding of how traumatic experiences shape and affects future experiences and how to create a safe environment, build trust, and support those individuals or groups.

Instead of prescribing a specific set of practices or steps, TIC includes three key elements and six core principles (described below) that guide work with those who have experienced trauma.

3 Key Elements

  1. Realize trauma’s prevalence and its impact on individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities; understand potential paths for recovery.
  2. Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in individuals, families, and others involved.
  3. Respond by integrating knowledge of trauma into policies, procedures, and practices.

6 Core Principles

  1. Safety: Ensure both physical and psychological safety.
  2. Trustworthiness and Transparency: Make decisions transparently to build and maintain trust.
  3. Peer Support: Utilize lived experiences and mutual support to establish safety, hope, trust, collaboration, and healing.
  4. Collaboration and Mutuality: Place importance on the roles that everyone plays in the healing process.
  5. Empowerment, Voice, and Choice: Recognize, validate, and build upon individuals’ strengths and experiences.
  6. Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues: Actively resist potential stereotypes and biases; ensure services are responsive to racial, ethnic, and cultural needs.

How individuals or groups implement the elements and principles of TIC may differ based on the specific individuals or groups in their professional field. There are, however, some broadly applicable and common practices:

  • Assurances of Privacy and Confidentiality: Communicating to individuals the measures in place to protect and maintain their confidentiality.
  • Non-Judgmental and Reflective Language: Using calm, non-judgmental language and reflecting language used by individuals to describe their unique experiences.
  • Building Trust and Survivor Autonomy: Encouraging and allowing individuals to have autonomy in whether they want to engage, and informing them of what their participation entails.

In brief, TIC creates a foundation for being more thoughtful when interacting with and supporting individuals who may have a history of trauma. In our final blog post, we will delve into how the EVALCORP team interacts with individuals or groups using a trauma-informed approach.

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