What Is Trauma–Informed Therapy?
A trauma–informed approach seeks an awareness of the widespread impact of trauma on life experiences and relationships. It recognizes trauma’s role in the outlook, emotions and behavior of a person with a trauma history. A trauma–informed approach also accepts that trauma’s impact is far more prevalent than most people realize.
As trauma–informed therapists, we choose to focus not only on the behavior someone is trying to change —but also on the underlying reasons for the behavior and the relief it provides currently.
We focus on behavior, beliefs and desired relief so we can do repair work at the deepest level to make the change long lasting. A trauma–informed approach attends to the underlying trauma from any cause.
Trauma–informed care can apply to anyone. It’s not just for people with obvious sources of trauma like physical or sexual abuse. Trauma–informed care applies as well to people with a history of depression or anxiety, people with emotional abuse or attachment wounds, or any kind of trauma.
When a therapist has a trauma–informed approach:
- They will talk about safety from the beginning: physical safety, emotional safety, and creating a safe environment where healing can occur.
- They will talk about self-care, boundaries, grounding and resourcing.
- Their approach recognizes that your behavior isn’t who you are—rather that it makes sense based on your history. It is what happened to you, not who you are!
- They work to understand your coping skills, how you survived your experiences, and help you build new healthy coping skills.
- They move at a pace you’re comfortable with, collaborating with you along the way, and work to keep you within your window of tolerance of emotions.