Why do we have Trauma-Informed care?
by Brendan Cole, LLPC
Every day we experience unfamiliar sensations and events and try to integrate them into our daily lives. Oftentimes, the events that tend to stand out are the ones that inflict pain, hurtful feelings, or were negative experiences that were witnessed. Between the good and the bad, all of these experiences add up and compose a whole self. Trauma takes things to a whole new level. Trauma is scary, and oftentimes people won’t realize it had such a major impact on the body until other psychological symptoms surface for “unknown” causes. Additionally, the impact of trauma can be subtle, insidious, or outright destructive (1). It impacts everyone differently, but it does not take away from the significance of each individual’s life.
Each person has something unique and beautiful to contribute to society. Although not every individual undergoes a traumatic event, every person deserves to have control and power over themselves and the ability to seek a wholesome lifestyle. Trauma-informed care is so important because it creates opportunities for individuals to regain control of their life and overcome mental health obstacles that otherwise inhibited their day to day life. It’s a strength-based framework that accentuates psychological, physical, and emotional safety.
Therapy is about the person. Every story deserves to be heard, and everyone deserves freedom from disturbing life events. The beautiful thing about trauma-informed counseling is that it enables a person to discover the strength already within themselves. Most of my interest in trauma work can be attributed to my experience with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy and how I’ve witnessed it provide healing for myself and others.
Personally, EMDR allowed me to overcome stressful and anxiety-inducing situations that I didn’t realize derived from different traumatic events I experienced as a kid. I never realized why I responded anxiously to random scenarios until I revisited the memory of being attacked by a dog when I was younger. For others, it could be a car accident, a natural disaster, or a catastrophic event like 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombing.
For a close friend, EMDR therapy allowed her to overcome the depression that was directly influenced by her being raped and feeling shame that followed the traumatic event. Somewhere along her journey, she began to negatively accept that the event was her fault and that she was all alone. Therapy with EMDR allowed her to find the strength within herself to reinstate that the incident was not her fault and that she is capable and resilient.
Life is a beautiful thing to experience, but it can be challenging while having to deal with disturbing life occurrences. I am beyond happy to say that there is hope, and I am here to help.
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- Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2014. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 57.) Chapter 3, Understanding the Impact of Trauma.