Overwhelmed and Unable to Cope
As we’ve stated in a number of previous blogs, trauma is an unprocessable occurrence. It’s an event that’s too horrible to put into words. Survivors of trauma often find themselves overwhelmed or unable to cope. Furthermore, because these folks can’t find a way to process this event, they will relive emotions associated with it in response to certain triggers. For example, a person who survived a fire might feel upset when they smell smoke from a barbecue. On the other hand, the trigger could be internal. Feeling abandoned or out of control can bring back memories of a difficult childhood to other survivors. And because trauma is so prevalent in the histories of folks struggling with substance use and eating disorders, it’s essential that the professionals treating them are sensitive to this. This is the goal of trauma-informed care.
What Is Trauma-Informed Care?
At its most basic, trauma-informed care means treating those clients with a history of trauma with respect. We need to keep their previous experiences in mind when interacting. However, at times this can be more difficult than it sounds. Those traumatic experiences can make even routine medical visits difficult. For example, many of us have been asked to disrobe for a doctor’s examination. However, what is a minor inconvenience for us can be a severe trigger for some sexual assault survivors. Trauma-informed care is a way to provide treatment to these folks while making sure they feel safe.
Six Principles of Trauma-Informed Care
Because trauma is so common in folks struggling with substance abuse and other mental health disorders, SAMHSA outlines six key fundamentals of trauma-informed care.
- Safety – As we stated above, this is a core concept. Clients that receive treatment and the professionals administering it must feel safe
- Trustworthiness and Transparency – This is another essential of mental health ethics. Healthcare providers must be open and honest with their clients, all owing them to make informed decisions about their treatment.
- Collaboration and Mutuality – To quote SAMHSA, “everyone has a role to play in a trauma-informed approach.” This eliminates power dynamics and gets the client involved in their treatment.
- Empowerment, Voice, and Choice – Getting the client involved in their treatment and giving them a voice and a choice helps them start to take back some of the power that has been stripped away by traumatic experiences.
- Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues – Biases and stereotypes have no place in trauma-informed mental health treatment. We respect the identities and experiences of everyone who comes through our doors.
Real Courage Means Asking for Help
Ocean Recovery makes trauma-informed care one of the cornerstones of our treatment programs. We have successfully been treating substance abuse and eating disorders since 2002. Furthermore, we have made numerous appearances on Dr. Phil to assist with his difficult cases. At our facilities in Newport Beach, California, we’ve helped hundreds of clients overcome their disorders and live happy, contented lives. If you or someone you love is struggling, please give us a call today. Real courage means asking for help. Ocean Recovery is ready to answer.