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.