As a place that specializes in addressing the impact of mental abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence, everyone at The Women’s Center understands the immense, life-long impact that traumatic experiences or a history of trauma can have on emotional and mental well-being. To ensure we can support the community members who face hardships and distress and come to us for help, our therapists are trained in trauma-informed care.
What is trauma-informed care?
Simply put, it refers to applying interventions and approaches informed by the knowledge that a person has endured a traumatic experience and is currently experiencing natural responses that may inhibit their present functioning. When we say ‘natural responses’ it could include mood disturbance, somatic responses, behaviors, or thought patterns that are a result of a person trying to survive a traumatic experience.
When a person comes to us for counseling, our therapists view their natural responses to trauma as a way to destigmatize the experience of seeking counseling. The knowledge of natural responses also paves a path to empower the client to have a more normal perception of themselves and their current needs, instead of thinking that there’s something wrong with them.
Typically, our therapists apply the following approaches to providing trauma-informed care:
- Giving back control to the person through trauma-informed psychoeducation. This means that the treatment goals are developed with the person in response to his/her traumatic experience and how it is impacting his/her present state.
- Providing evidence-based resources such as research findings, real-life stories, etc, for the person to be able to learn new skills in therapy to regulate their emotions and increase safety. Our therapists receive ongoing training to be equipped with the latest information and tools.
- Allowing the person to recover and reprocess mental images, thought patterns and body memories or sensations that have left them with a negative set of beliefs about themselves. Doing this often helps them further understand what they are going through and why they might be responding a certain way.
- Encouraging the person to practice new ways of thinking, feeling, believing, and being in the real world. Therapists are in constant communication with them to ensure both of their goals are being met. In addition, therapists monitor their progress during individual and group sessions.
- Recognizing his/her growth and ability to function in new ways in the real world through graduation/termination. Graduation from the program is discussed collaboratively with the client and a termination plan is created. The therapists reinforce his/her positive skill sets moving forward and inform them of services available in the community for continued care.
These approaches apply to all of the counseling services offered by The Center. However, the journey is personalized and looks different for every person. If you have experienced trauma and would like to seek trauma-informed counseling, you can make an appointment here: https://thewomenscenter.org/make-appointment/ .