Trauma-Informed Care Training: 6 Ways the Approach Makes a Difference

A large, healthy tree with strong roots, vibrantly green leaves, and sunshine glowing through the full branches.

At Share Collaborative, we specialize in Trauma-Informed Care training, which is a bit of a misnomer. As discussed, “training” might be the common term for sharing information about trauma-informed care, but as a philosophy, we offer facilitation.

 

We recognize that it’s impossible to train people to be or feel a certain way. We can’t train someone to feel empathy, engage, or be compassionate. Those traits are innate to our humanity. What we can do is facilitate a space where we can bring out those qualities and help model ways to carry out conversations that can help motivate and bring out positive responses in others.

 

For those in service-oriented fields like education and social work, facilitating these conversations—building rapport—is a critical component of Trauma-Informed Care. When we talk about Trauma-Informed Care training or Trauma + Resilience training, this is the approach we model.

 

What is Trauma-Informed Care?

When you understand the impacts of trauma on fellow human beings, you can then understand the base of their feelings.

 

We all experience trauma in life. Even if we seemingly have safe, nurturing spaces and joyful lives filled with positive interactions, we will all experience loss, pain, fear, and other emotions resulting from traumatic experience(s). Unfortunately, many people do not have the resources, support, and opportunities available to them that they need to feel safe and empowered. There is a systemic deficit of these resources due to racism, sexism, ableism, and other “isms” that fuel disparity and oppression.

 

The goal of Trauma-Informed Care is to create a space with trust, safety, and transparency. In a setting where you may be extending services to another human (education, medical services, legal services, or mental health services, for example), rapport and connection are key components of that space. Within Trauma-Informed Care, we honor the values of collaboration, empowerment, and operating in a culturally, historically, and gender-responsive way. We want to allow others to express their experience in a way that helps them process their trauma and acknowledges their human experience.

 

The word trauma means wound. We’re working with unhealed emotional or psychological wounds. Many times, in human services, our goal and purpose are to help heal those wounds, rather than coping with them or working around them.

 

The experience of trauma results from a moment of powerlessness, which can be triggered in various ways. For example, when people are imprisoned or on probation, their powerlessness is being triggered. Something as seemingly simple as picking out what clothes to wear or what food they want to eat has been taken away, and the experience can be traumatic and disempowering.

 

In a school setting, trauma can come in the form of self-blame, feelings of inadequacy, or blame from other people. When a student is struggling, parents may experience the shame or blame that they’ve long carried with them since their own education experience. This can create layers of trauma passed down through generations, which we refer to as ancestral trauma.

 

Similarly, in the health field, trauma can come from a loss of control over one’s body or mental health. People may feel frightened; they may be experiencing pain and discomfort; they may feel like their body or mind is behaving in unfamiliar ways beyond their control.

 

When people are disempowered and traumatized, they may often find ways to self-medicate, leading to addictions and addictive behaviors. These behaviors compound the trauma, making it harder to get a job or keep a job, harder to be successful at work or school, and harder to navigate forward safely. We refer to these unhealth response to trauma as adaptive behaviors. The person is doing the best they can, given their circumstances and awareness (or lack thereof) of how their experience of trauma is impacting them.

 

The Healing-Focused Care Model

When we do Trauma-Informed Care training, we share the Healing-Focused Care model. The model is designed to help heal trauma. When we acknowledge the trauma and pain of others, we are honoring their identity and experience.

 

Healing-Focused Care is the thread through all of our training programs, playing a deep role in Motivational Interviewing, as seen in the graphic below.

 

A graphic shows a pyramid that details the values of Trauma-Informed Care and the Spirit of Motivational Interviewing. The four main values shown in the pyramid are Compassion at the base, then acceptance, partnership, and evocation.

 

In reflective supervision, applying Healing-Focused Care helps employers empower employees. It facilitates conversations that honor their experiences and allows them to create a positive work environment to avoid compassion fatigue.

 

When we discuss the journey of Cultural Humility to Cultural Reverence (CH2CR), healing-focused care is especially critical. It helps us all be responsive to others’ identities. When identity isn’t honored, it can retrigger trauma that can come from systemic inequalities and past experiences.

 

Team wellness is about creating safe sharing spaces for teams. We show teams how to hold space for one another and process trauma in a way that fosters well-beingness.

 

Each program that we offer at Share Collaborative is designed to address trauma from various angles.

 

When we provide Trauma-Informed Care, the approach makes a difference in the 6 following ways:

 

1. It Supports You to Empathize

Trauma-Informed Care supports you to empathize with the other person’s experience. It helps you build a rapport with them, understanding where they are coming from, even if their journey has been very different from yours.

 

2. It Supports You to Depersonalize

Trauma-Informed Care training helps human service professionals understand how to depersonalize the emotions of the person they are serving. Meaning when the person is upset, angry, or reactive, we can express empathy to demonstrate our understanding as to why they might feel upset or angry and depersonalize the hostility. This approach also helps us attend to our own wellness—a critical component of any Trauma-Informed Care approach and/or implementation.

 

3. It Supports You to Guide Conversations

Trauma-Informed Care training helps practitioners guide conversations more skillfully and empathetically. Understanding and relating are crucial for building rapport and connecting with those we serve. When the rapport is established and deepened over time, the conversation comes more easily, and growth ensures. Rapport is the number one indicator of a positive outcome in any service relationship.

 

4. It Helps Reduce the Flight, Fight, or Freeze Response

Providing Trauma-Informed Care creates a space where served persons can start to think through the situation and their reactions. It helps them calm the flight, fight, or freeze response and defensive posturing that can come from feeling disempowered.

 

5. It Helps Reasoning

Trauma-Informed Care can foster reasoning and processing. Once a served person is no longer in trauma mode, they can process their reasons for engaging in positive behaviors such as letting go of an addiction or following probation guidelines. They can comfortably start to recognize the benefits of positive actions.

 

6. It Motivates an Open Response

Trauma-Informed Care is a crucial aspect of Motivational Interviewing because when we engage in a Healing-Focused Care model, it encourages the served person to become more open and responsive to ways of healing. Once the trust and understanding are evident, you can start to find a positive path forward.

 

Trauma-Informed Care training is critical for any organization providing services to their fellow human beings. When service professionals understand the healing-focused care model, they will feel a greater sense of empowerment and confidence in their ability to provide healing, positive solutions to those they serve.

 

If your organization is interested in exploring more about Trauma-Informed Care training and Share’s Healing-Focused Care model, please reach out. We have a diverse team of facilitators who are prepared to model and guide you through an empowering, trauma-informed approach to care.

 

 

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