5 Ways Trauma Informed Care Can Benefit Your Practice

5 Ways Trauma Informed Care Can Benefit Your Practice

When it comes to providing successful care to our patients, trauma-informed care is essential. It helps ensure your patients are given the best quality of care with compassion and respect. With focus being on health equity and social justice in recent years, trauma-informed care is important when treating individuals from all backgrounds – especially those with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). In this blog post, we’ll explore five ways you can use trauma-informed techniques to benefit your practice. Read on to learn more about how these approaches can improve outcomes, foster client resilience, and prevent further harm and suffering.


1. Understand why and how trauma often is a main factor in chronic illness

When patients come to us suffering from chronic illnesses, it’s easy to treat the physical symptoms without digging much deeper. However, for many patients dealing with chronic illness, trauma is often at the root of their condition. In order to properly assess and effectively treat people with chronic illness, it’s important for health practitioners to understand why and how trauma can play a major role in the development of these conditions.

When looking at vulnerable populations such as those affected by poverty or discrimination, trauma can have far-reaching consequences on mental and physical health. It’s therefore essential for healthcare professionals to take a holistic approach when working with a patient with chronic illness and evaluate whether there is a connection between the illness and a traumatic event, which can make a significant difference in how a patient progresses in their treatment.  Modules within our certificate program, Repairing the Shattered Heart (RSH), equip practitioners with the tools they need to identify and support those who are suffering from these conditions.

2. Develop multiple clinical tools to reduce and prevent trauma patterns

Trauma patterns are ways in which trauma, both past and present, manifest in different individuals. How trauma patterns present themselves in a person is a complex interplay between genetics, environment, lifestyle, and context. It’s important to understand that a traumatic experience can impact different people in different ways, even if they went through the same or similar traumatic experience.

Differentiating between positive post-traumatic growth versus potential pathological variations can help us better assess how well a person may have coped with the trauma and how it might continue to impact his or her life. With appropriate care and counseling, people who experience trauma can learn coping mechanisms so that the traumatic experience has less of an impact on their lives.

Trauma-informed care is an important part of Chinese medicine practice. At Acupuncturists Without Borders, we provide training that support practitioners in their ability to gain a better understanding of the neurobiology of trauma, how to identify intergenerational and race-based trauma, and how to appropriately treat complex trauma using polyvagal theory.

Participants in this course will learn useful insights on how to cultivate introspection with patients, as well as develop relationships with cultural humility. The aim is to provide participants with an overview of trauma-informed care and equip them with key strategies to reduce and prevent trauma patterns.

3. Be able to assess your clinical practice from a trauma-informed care lens

A trauma-informed care lens is an important resource to navigate through any difficult and adverse situation. This lens allows somebody to think holistically, empathically, and with deep understanding and compassion when dealing with someone who has experienced trauma or oneself.

A person using a trauma-informed lens will approach individuals in distress from a place that this individual has been impacted by potentially multiple traumatic experiences rather than viewing them as a person who is traumatized by this one event. This approach acknowledges that what someone’s needs, their feelings and/or behaviors may be beyond their control in this moment and they need a safe environment. In short, a trauma-informed care lens is an essential tool for recognizing and responding to the unique needs of someone facing a difficult situation.

Assessing our clinical practice from a trauma-informed care lens can be an essential part of providing the best care for our patients. Trauma-informed care means not only understanding trauma and its effects, but also being aware of any power differences that may exist between professionals and patients and making sure to remain conscious of those differences during each interaction.

As healthcare providers, we should take the time to assess our clinical practice from a trauma-informed lens in order to provide the highest level of compassionate care for our patients when they experience trauma in their lives. We must continually strive for patient satisfaction, trustworthiness, and understanding as we build therapeutic relationships with those we work with everyday.

Are your practices creating safety, transparency, resilience, empowerment and collaboration with your patients? Does this include your physical set up, health history forms, how patients are positioned on treatment tables? We will go over this and much more.


4. How to do a trauma-informed care intake without activating a patient’s trauma pattern

Trauma-informed care is essential for helping patients who have experienced traumatic or difficult events in their life. However, it is important to be mindful of how we initiate the intake process to prevent triggering our patient.

A trauma-informed approach emphasizes the patient’s perception of safety and calls for us to create a safe space for the patient in which to take time to complete the intake or assessment process. During the initial contact, it is important to first fully explain what will happen during the assessment and help ensure that the patient feels comfortable with each step.

Additionally, practitioners should constantly check in with the patient regarding their comfort level when progressing through sensitive topics such as personal information gathering and avoid making any assumptions during these moments. By showing sensitivity throughout the encounter, by providing an open environment and following up with verbal reassurance, clinicians can create a more positive experience while maintaining a trauma-informed framework within their practice.

5. How to keep yourself strong and healthy when working with trauma patients and avoid developing vicarious trauma

Working in the field with patients who experience trauma can be a difficult and trying experience. Therefore, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself both physically and mentally. Start by setting boundaries with patients to ensure you feel comfortable and keep those boundaries firmly in mind.

Reducing your work hours and taking regular breaks can also help you maintain your sense of balance throughout the day. Connecting with colleagues for support when necessary is also beneficial for managing stress. If you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed or struggling, seek professional help from a mental health worker to prevent developing secondary or vicarious trauma. Ultimately, self-care is the key to keeping yourself strong and healthy when dealing with trauma patients.

Trauma-informed care (TIC) is becoming increasingly popular amongst all types of healthcare providers, from primary care physicians to mental health counselors. It is a holistic approach to patient care that addresses the traumatic experiences and symptoms experienced by the patient.

TIC is found to be highly beneficial for many people suffering from debilitating trauma or mental illness, as well as those who are recovering from disabilities or chronic physical illnesses. This blog post will discuss five particularly effective ways TIC can benefit your practice: providing support during treatment sessions, helping clients resolve conflicts without triggering past traumas, creating an environment that prioritizes safety and building trust, introducing strategies for improving listening skills, and facilitating acceptance for difficult emotions without judgement. 

We invite you to enroll in the Repairing the Shattered Heart program online or in person so you can start implementing these tools right away in your practices. 

Wellness Is In Your Hands

Wellness Is In Your Hands

wellness is in your hands

Both acupressure and acupuncture are used to stimulate or sedate specific points on the body, which help to rebalance the body. Korean Hand Therapy provides a way to treat the whole body using just the hand, rather than trying to locate points throughout the body.

Susan states, “I’m often entrusted with the task of introducing audiences to Korean Hand Therapy and its benefits. Whether I am teaching at a school, corporation or non-profit, the experience follows a similar pattern. After providing context around KHT by discussing its origins and bringing in scientific evidence that supports its use, I introduce some acupoint locations as part of my presentation. Then, I conclude by asking for volunteers who are currently experiencing minor discomforts (there is someone in the room who is experiencing something – such as headache) to allow people to see KHT’s effectiveness firsthand. Once people see what it can do, it becomes tangible to them.”

Applying pressure to a KHT acupoint can be accomplished using your finger, pellets or bio-marked magnets. While traditional methods, such as pressing via thumb/fingertip are still the standard for acupressure therapy, having access to bio-marked magnets gives you more flexibility in terms of treatment time and location. The ability to use different methods gives you more options when dealing with uncomfortable episodes throughout the day – whether at home, work or while traveling. It also allows you to experience relief from these uncomfortable episodes quicker and without the need for someone else to perform the work for you.

KHT offers a simple yet sophisticated path to wellness, allowing both clients and practitioners to tailor their approach without the use of needles. With knowledge of KHT microsystems at hand, along with some practice, you and your patients can take control of your health with these self-application techniques that will supplement and extend in-person treatments for maximum effectiveness.





For over two-and-a-half decades, Susan Shane has been a licensed acupuncturist and the author of Vitality Fusion, Second Edition. Her expertise in wellness practices extends to speaking engagements at prestigious institutions such as University of California San Diego and Intuit Rohr Inc., where she served on their Community Advisory Board; her impressive educational background is further supplemented by being an adjunct faculty member at Pacific College of Health & Science’s San Diego campus.

Cultivating Resilience and Strong Immunity

Cultivating Resilience and Strong Immunity

Resources to Support You, Your Patients, and Communities

March 23, 2020: Issue #1

  • Covid-19 Virtual Town Hall for Acupuncturists
  • Coronavirus Treatment with TCM in China
  • Caring for Yourself and Others During the Covid-19 Pandemic
  • American Society of Acupuncturists Resource Page
  • CALM Meditation, Visualization and Grounding Exercises
  • Qigong for the Immune System
  • Safe Grocery Shopping during the Covid Pandemic
  • Talking to Your Kids about Covid-19

April 11, 2020: Issue #2

  • Covid-19 Virtual Town Hall for Acupuncturists #2

  • Best Herbal Medicine Prescribing Practices During Covid-19

  • Covid-19 Webinar 2: Modern Research from TCM

  • New 30-Hour AWB Online Course – Healing Community Trauma in Times of Crisis

  • Covid-19, the Five Elements of Acupuncture and Asian Medicine, and the Self-Protective Response

  • Moxabustion for Strong Immunity

  • Emotional Freedom Technique for Stress Reduction

  • Meditation to Strengthen the Immune System

April 26, 2020: Issue #3

  • Research Studies on Covid-19 and Chinese Herbs

  • Social Connection and Knowing our Essence

  • How the Pulse Changes in Times of Significant Stress

  • Acupuncture for Acute Respiratory Distress

  • How to Apply Ear Seeds/Earseed Kits

  • Free Herb Consultations for Frontline Health Workers

  • Emotional Freedom Technique Video

  • Free HeartMath Program – Ease Stress Overload & Increase Resilience

AWB Returns from WHE Israel/West Bank Trip

AWB Returns from WHE Israel/West Bank Trip

WHE participants learning to make herbal creams

We just completed an amazing three-week journey to Israel and the West Bank where AWB has been working for the past five years. AWB works here because it is a conflict area where most people suffer from deep trauma. Palestinians suffer displacement, discrimination, economic restriction, high imprisonment rates, and other horrors of the occupation. Israelis suffer from traumatic war experiences, terror attacks, and transgenerational trauma from the Holocaust and centuries of antisemitism. And there are other communities that experience trauma-the Druze, Sudanese refugees, and Palestinians who are also Israeli citizens. It is a complicated place with more nuances than not.

It is AWB’s mission to treat EVERYONE suffering from trauma, to intervene in trauma cycles that perpetuate fear and hatred. We also train practitioners to provide trauma reduction treatments in their own communities so that people can receive support over time.

Gathering herbs with herbalist Mariam Abourkeek

As part of this WHE trip, AWB trip participants trained a group of Palestinian health-workers in the West Bank to do the NADA protocol. This is the second Palestinian training AWB has done this year, and we hope to do another in the near future as word about this work spreads in the West Bank. The other important element of the training is that we bring Israelis, Americans and Palestinians TOGETHER to train and practice. Then we go to Palestinian communities and provide treatments as a mixed diverse team of professionals. This is part of the healing work-to demonstrate that people can work together to serve diverse communities despite all the conflicts and challenges. During the trip we did clinics (called healing circles) for Bedouin women in Tel Sheva, for Palestinians in Beit Jala and Bethlehem, and for a group of settlers and Palestinian farmers who are trying to work together in the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion.

A few comments from women in Bethlehem after their treatments: 
“I was afraid before, do not feel afraid now.”
“I felt like something was getting out of my body…I had stress and a headache, now I feel much better, no headache or stress.”
“I feel like I am in a different world.”

This is the Medicine of Peace.

We learned about indigenous healing practices: Kaballah healing, Bedouin herbology, biblical medicinal plants, modern herb farms in Israel, and how TCM is practiced in integrative settings in Israeli hospitals. We also spent time with old friends from AWB Israel and made many new friends in Palestine. It is easy to give up hope that the conflict here will ever resolve. We are doing what we can, along with many others, to make sure it will. Thank you to everyone who supports our work in this region and throughout the world!

Special thanks to Lhasa OMS and Acurea Medical-USA for donating supplies, and to Ray Lifchez for supporting the Palestinian practitioner training!

Street Art on the Palestinian Side of the Barrier Wall
AWB Offers New 7 CEU Course on Secondary Trauma

AWB Offers New 7 CEU Course on Secondary Trauma

Secondary Trauma: Critical Issue to Know as a Practitioner

Where: Newton, MA (Boston Area)

When: Friday April 19, 2019 | 9-5pm

Instructor: Diana Fried, AWB Founding Director

7 PDA/CEUs NCCAOM, CA (including 2 Safety & 2 Ethics PDAs, pending)

Every practitioner needs to know about secondary trauma, and how might it affect one’s life.

This is a subject that is often NOT taught in our educational programs, and yet it is so critical for our long-term success in our work and for our long-term personal happiness.

Please join us for a teaching and personal exploration of this critically important topic.

In this workshop we will explore the following:

  • What is Secondary Trauma?
  • Risk factors and signs of Secondary Trauma
  • Managing one’s own story in the treatment room
  • Trauma-Informed acupuncture and working with crises
  • Burnout, Self-awareness and Building Resiliency
  • Five Elements and Secondary TraumaThis will be a small workshop with limited spots.

Register early to guarantee yours!