The following definitions are recommended by the Circuit 12 Trauma-Informed Care Workgroup for use throughout the health and human service systems in Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto counties. Definitions come from the SAMHSA publication Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach.
Trauma: The 3 E’s
Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or a set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.
Trauma-Informed Approaches: The 4 R’s
A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery; recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system; responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices, and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.
Six Principles of a Trauma-Informed Approach
Safety. Throughout the organization, staff and the people they serve, whether children or adults, feel physically and psychologically safe; the physical setting is safe and interpersonal interactions promote a sense of safety. Understanding safety as defined by those served is a high priority.
Trustworthiness and Transparency. Organizational operations and decisions are conducted with transparency with the goal of building and maintaining trust with clients and family members, among staff, and with others involved in the organization.
Peer Support. Peer support and mutual self-help are key vehicles for establishing safety and hope, building trust, enhancing collaboration, and utilizing stories and lived experience to promote recovery and healing.
Collaboration and Mutuality. Importance is placed on partnering and leveling power differences between staff and clients as well as among staff members throughout an organization, from clerical and housekeeping personnel to professional staff to administrators. This demonstrates that healing happens in relationships and in the meaningful sharing of power and decision-making.
Empowerment, Voice, and Choice. Throughout the organization and among the clients served, individuals’ strengths and experiences are recognized and built upon. The organization fosters a belief in the primacy of the people served, in resilience, and in the ability of individuals, organizations, and communities to heal and promote recovery from trauma.
Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues. The organization actively moves past cultural stereotypes and biases; offers access to gender-responsive services; leverages the healing value of traditional cultural connections; incorporates policies, protocols, and processes that are responsive to the racial, ethnic, and cultural needs of individuals served; and recognizes and addresses historical trauma.