Trauma-Informed Care: In Practice

Supporting Staff Development: Creating trauma-informed services and settings requires programs to expand on basic, traditional staff development efforts (see figure 1) to include a range of trauma-related training and support activities. Training and education on trauma, supervision that includes discussions about trauma, and a focus on self-care for the provider are all key components of a trauma-informed organization (p.22)


Creating a Safe and Supportive Environment: Traumatic experiences violate our fundamental belief that the world is a safe place and people can be trusted. Creating a safe, supportive, welcoming, and respectful environment is essential in any service setting (p.26).


Assessing and Planning Services at Intake: In all service settings, completing a thorough intake assessment and referring consumers to appropriate services is essential to providing quality care…consideration of traumatic experiences and the impact of these experiences on families must be a routine part of the assessment and service planning process (p 30).


Ongoing Assessment: Intake assessments are only the first step in a process of connecting families with appropriate services. Both adults and children should be referred for more in-depth assessments when there is a need for further intervention and more specific types of services that require outside professionals (p. Guarino, et al., 2009, 31).


Strength Based Approaches: Adults and children who have experienced trauma have specific needs that may remain mislabeled or misinterpreted if their experiences of trauma are not addressed as part of the intake process… using a strengths-based approach also sets a tone of respect for the consumer and enhances the process of relationship-building between consumer and provider (p. 30).

Involving Consumers: “In order to be trauma-informed, an organization must integrate consumers in designing, providing and evaluating services. Significant consumer involvement not only creates a better program, but provides an empowering growth experience for the consumers involved” (Elliot et al., 2005, p.14).


Adapting Policies: Establishing policies that protect the safety and well-being of those being served is essential to providing quality care… as the needs of consumers evolve and the role of the organization changes, policies that were once effective may no longer be helpful (Guarino, et al., 2009, p. 34).