Trauma-informed care aims to recognize, understand, and empathize with the impact of trauma on an individual and those around them.
- Instead of approaching sexual, physical, or emotional trauma victims in an environment that may create re-traumatization, healthcare providers are being educated on how they should interact with patients through trauma-informed care.
- Trauma-informed care seeks to eliminate the anxiety and triggering environment around receiving medical care for those with trauma.
- Trauma-informed care has been shown to increase the effectiveness of treatments and interactions with patients.
What is Re-Traumatization?
After experiencing trauma, especially sexual-related trauma, seeking medical attention can be a very intimidating and even triggering process for many. Typically, the patient would be asked to remove clothing and undergo invasive testing that can be re-traumatizing through flashbacks of their abuse.
Practices of any restraints, force, isolation, sound, or even specific interactions can re-traumatize a patient. As a result, many patients may mentally shut down, get aggressive, refuse treatment, or avoid appointments in the future. It may also lead patients to feel shameful or guilty for their trauma or their response to it. For this reason alone, many individuals will choose not to seek out medical attention or legal help following a traumatic event.
Trauma-informed care seeks to avoid any re-traumatization with each and every patient. Rather than treating each patient like a number or a case, they aim to understand each patient as a whole. Re-traumatization can be costly to a patient’s overall health by resurfacing past trauma. It can cost them their comfort, confidence, and willingness to seek any medical help in the future. That is why it is crucial for all healthcare providers to approach all patients with a trauma-informed care approach. Nobody ever fully knows what each individual has gone through in their life. It is time to start practicing empathy and kindness for everyone. Learn more about re-traumatization at the YouTube video linked below.
What Does a Trauma-Informed Care Approach Look Like?
Since trauma comes in many different forms and affects each person uniquely, the trauma-informed care approach needs to be specifically designed for each patient’s needs. What works with some may not work with others so it is essential to approach with understanding and patience. The trauma-informed care aims to provide policies, procedures, and principles that are welcoming and safe for a patient to receive medical attention.
This approach can look like a healthcare provider customizing a specific approach for a patient that may appear nervous or uncomfortable while answering questions. Staff who are trained in trauma-informed care can learn about how to recognize all types of trauma and how to continue with treatment comfortably and safely. Healthcare providers teach the 5 principles of trauma-informed care to educate their staff on how to handle these interactions. Let’s take a look at each of the 5 principles:
*Information is sourced from the Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care (2015)
For more information on the 5 principles of trauma-informed care, check out the YouTube video below.
Trauma-Informed Care with Sex Trafficking
When it comes to approaching trauma-informed care for victims of sex trafficking, the process is relatively similar. In addition to the standard 5 principles, healthcare providers must remember that the individual’s trauma is not limited to just the sex-trafficking. There may be other trauma prior to their sex trafficking that may call for a more thoughtful approach. Rather than asking forward questions or rushing into treatment, consider what trauma each patient may have been through and show them how their voice matters.
One should never feel guilt, shame, or question the former motive of the sex-trafficking victim since harsh and false accusations can be detrimental to their overall well-being. Many victims have been manipulated, coerced, and brainwashed into their abuse which makes it very difficult for them to trust people. To avoid this from happening, healthcare providers should seek to understand the complexity of the trauma, not only physical/sexual trauma but also psychological, behind a sex-trafficking victim.
How Can You Get More Informed?
Want to learn more or become an advocate? Take a look at Bridging Freedom’s top three recommended trauma-informed care educational services platforms:
- Trauma-Informed Care Resources
- Trauma-informed care: What it is, and why it’s important – Harvard Health
- What is Trauma-Informed Care? – University at Buffalo (School of Social Work)
- What is Trauma-Informed Care? – Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center (chcs.org)
- Microsoft Word – TIP_What is Trauma Informed Care (TIC).docx (traumainformedoregon.org)
- Local Education Centers
- YouTube Lectures
- 1 in 5 women have been raped at some point in time. Of that number, 12% were younger than 10 years old when it occurred (CDC).
- 1 in 71 men have been raped at some point in time. Of that number, 30% were younger than 10 years old when it occurred (CDC).
- Nearly 1 in 3 adult women have experienced at least 1 physical assault by a partner (AHRQ).
- People that have experienced some level of trauma are 15 times more likely to commit suicide.
Bridging Freedom | Restoring Stolen Childhoods
Our mission is to restore stolen childhoods. Based in Tampa, Florida with a nationwide reach / impact we strive to combat domestic minor sex trafficking through our restoration programs for rescued victims by providing a therapeutic safe homes for victims. In addition to providing services for victims, we also bring awareness to this important issue and educate the community about the horrors going on behind closed doors.
Through partnerships with Clearwater / Tampa Bay Area Task Force on Human Trafficking, Tampa Bay FBI Innocence Lost Initiative, and St. Petersburg College Center for Human Trafficking Awareness, Bridging Freedom provides victims with a safe place and connects them to necessary recovery resources. In order to allow us to continue doing what we do, Bridging Freedom relies on the generosity and collaboration of our community of supporters. If you would like to be a part of our group of supporters, then you can donate online at this web page here.