Healing from trauma
“The 3 Es”; Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional or spiritual well-being.
A Trauma-Informed Approach (Four R’s)
Realizes widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;
Recognizes signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system;
Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and
Resists and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.
Healing from Trauma-Use Integrated Care component
The Four “C’s” will be implemented:
Calm: Pay attention to how you are feeling, breathe and calm yourself to help model and promote calmness for the patient.
Contain: Ask the level of detail of trauma history that will allow the patient to maintain emotional and physical safety; respects the timeframe for your interaction; and allows you to offer the patient further treatments.
Care: Emphasize good self-care and compassion.
Cope: Emphasize skills to build upon strength, resiliency, and hope.
Key Principles of a Trauma – Informed Approach; Safety, Cultural, historical and gender issues, empowerment, voice, and choice, trustworthiness, and transparency peer support, collaboration and mutuality.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common and well-supported treatment for trauma disorders. CBT works by identifying and challenging unhealthy thinking patterns that contribute to the symptoms of trauma. The benefits of CBT can be long-lasting.
Exposure Therapy – During exposure therapy, the patient is exposed to reminders of their trauma in a gradual and safe way. With enough exposure the trauma begins to lose its emotional power, and the symptoms diminish. Exposure therapies have extensive research support.
Medication may be used to manage the symptoms of trauma such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Medication can be especially valuable when a person’s symptoms are so intense that they are unable to participate in psychotherapy.
Other treatments: Many other treatments, such as Narrative Exposure Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and group therapy have all been found to be helpful for survivors of trauma.
Reducing isolation and building supportive relationships is crucial for patients to heal from the impact of trauma and for providers to sustain the love compassions, and presence to move from treatment to healing. There is a growing recognition that experiences of trauma are often the underpinning of many mental health and substance use issues. By increasing public awareness and understanding of the connection between trauma experiences and behavioral health consequences, we can promote prevention, treatment, and recovery. There are many ways in which families, providers, peers, and community member scan make a meaningful impact in the life of someone who has experienced trauma.
Although it may seem small, one of the most valuable things a person can do is simply to listen and acknowledge that individual’s experiences while being supportive of his or her recovery. By listening, we support the survivor in letting go of the shame and secrecy that are part to the trauma experience and help restore his or her dignity. Each of us can learn to provide this compassionate listening, which allows survivors to talk about what happened. Communities across the country are infusing the values of trauma-informed care into mental health and substance use services, peer-run organizations, and communities, child welfare settings, schools, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities to create organizations that support individuals as they pursue healing pathways toward wellness and recovery.
These approaches are based on an understanding of the vulnerabilities or triggers of trauma survivors and work to create a safe environment.
Healing Tips: Get moving, Exercise, do not isolate.