Trauma Informed Care

A lot of addiction treatment programs claim they provide trauma informed care practices. Mostly because studies show that up to 59% of young adults who receive treatment for substance use disorders (SUD) have experienced some form of trauma. Since trauma and SUD are highly correlated, most addiction treatment programs have adopted an approach that takes this into account. 

So, what does trauma informed care actually mean? 

In essence, it means that an organization has developed a clinical and organizational culture of being mindful and supportive to traumatic experiences. In doing so, the conversation begins to shift from “what is wrong with you” to “what happened to you?” Health care teams can’t provide effective treatment without first having a full picture of your past and present trauma history. By adopting a trauma informed approach, the goal is to:

  • Avoid re-traumatizing the person 
  • Incorporate trauma related practices into organizations policies and procedures, clinical curriculum
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with various types of trauma
  • Recognize the impact of trauma and develop pathways for recovery


In Practice

You may be asking yourself, how does this translate into real world practice? The answer is programs should design every facet of their practice to include sensitivity for trauma and how it shows up. A great example of this is the first phone call to inquire about addiction treatment.

From the first time you pick up the phone to ask for help, the person on the other end of the call should do a few things. Besides asking you about your trauma history, they should use a compassionate, understanding and supportive tone. They should also recognize if you’re resistant to discussing your trauma and understand not to push you on it. While this may seem very obvious from the outside, it may be a sign that a program isn’t as trauma informed as it claims to be.

By practicing a trauma informed approach from intake to discharge, organizations can accomplish a few things. First, health care teams can begin to treat some of the underlying conditions that may be contributing to your SUD. Additionally, they can help clients learn to form strong and healthy relationships by understanding how their trauma influences their behaviors and emotions. Ultimately, the goal is to help client’s grow from within. This means facing one’s traumatic experiences with a qualified professional.

We pride ourselves on utilizing trauma informed care practices to help create a healing environment for all who come through our doors. If you or someone you know has a history of trauma and substance use disorder, our team can help! Contact us today to speak to a qualified professional about our clinical services and approach to trauma.