The Importance of being Trauma-informed

July 12, 2023
Amanda Brady-Fujita
Doctor comforting a patient

Trauma-informed refers to an approach that recognises and responds to the impact of trauma on individuals. It is a way of understanding and engaging with people who have experienced trauma by considering the physical, psychological and emotional effects it can have on their lives. Why is being trauma-informed so important? 

Supporting vulnerable people 

Over the last few years, the narrative has changed and there is now a greater focus on being trauma- informed. But how do we do this and how do we make sure that ‘trauma’ doesn’t become a buzz word that is thrown around too easily?

As a GPI, delivering Safety Intervention training to professionals working within the human services sector, I hear many heartbreaking stories. Just last week, a participant told me a story of a 14-year-old youth he supports who has already lived with 40 different families. I think about the potential trauma it has caused for the child going through constant relocation and having to resettle into new environments. This must be very stressful for a 14-year-old!

This to me would generate complex trauma, trauma that happens when someone is exposed to varied and multiple events over a period of time. Imagine the feeling of not being wanted, of having to adapt yourself to try to fit in with a new family, to only be relocated again. I couldn’t fathom what that must feel like.

Seeing the person beyond the behaviour 

This is only one example of what I hear. During my training sessions I have heard many examples of children from broken homes, children experiencing physical, sexual or psychological abuse and/or neglect.

No matter what the background or the situation, if there is trauma, it is essential to understand that the person will generally be in fight or flight all the time.

Often when they display difficult behaviour, it is due to those underlying factors that is affecting their wellbeing.

That is where we, as professionals must aim to take the time to understand this so that we can provide the best possible support.

Regardless of the sector, whether it be schools and education, the disability sector, with our front-line workers, our nurses and hospital staff, or even in the aged- care sector, we need to be remembering that “trauma” is not a buzzword: this is someone’s reality, and we can make a continual and positive change in this area through increased training, increasing knowledge, competence, and confidence.

Overall, being trauma-informed is essential for promoting healing, providing effective support, and creating safe and empowering spaces for trauma survivors. It acknowledges the impact of trauma and seeks to foster resilience, empathy, and understanding in all aspects of life.

To find out more about how we can help with Verbal Intervention training see our programme page for more information.

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