Trauma Informed Care in Action


Traumatic experiences are more common than people once thought. Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population report that they have had one or more traumatic events occur in their lives.  People with developmental or other disabilities are at a higher risk. People may suffer from trauma due to loss, abuse, neglect, war, and other events.  These experiences can impact a person’s health.  Trauma can impact the way we care for ourselves.  The impact of trauma can make success harder in school or work and lead to problems at home. People may respond to every day events as if a traumatic event is still present.

People respond in different ways to trauma. One person may suffer more from trauma while another person seems to recover quickly. A person who struggles with past trauma may react in ways that people don’t understand. Sometimes this reaction is viewed as a problem by others. A person may respond with sudden anxiety, anger, or aggression while talking to other people. Family, friends, or someone in the community can be confused by this unexpected reaction. They can’t understand what is causing the problems. Over time, the person may become lonely because other people avoid them or due to gaining a reputation for being difficult.

Trauma-informed care is an approach that helps people understand the effects of trauma and learn how to build trusting and caring people in a someone’s life. The outcomes of a trauma-informed care approach are to prevent harmful events and build new skills that helps a person cope with past trauma. It is also important to make sure that a person does not become re-traumatized. For instance, panic and fear that comes from a past sexual assault may cause someone to strike out at others. A bad response to this behavior would be to restrain the person to avoid injury.  Being held down by other people creates new and more intense reactions in similar settings in the future.

In Depth