One question I get asked a lot when I teach about trauma-informed care is whether this method is appropriate for clients who have not experienced trauma. One reaction I have it that it would be difficult to find anyone, including us, who has not experienced trauma. But putting that aside, I sometimes do regret the term trauma-informed care. Isn't what we are advocating here just good care? Let’s look at the concepts. It is my opinion that they apply to all effective treatment:
- A belief that the relationship is the key to healing
- A conviction that symptoms are adaptive, so that the treater approaches difficult behaviors with respect and looks for how the behavior solves a problem for the client
- An understanding of the role of the brain and biology and the ways in which development is shaped by experience
- Empowerment and collaboration
- Flexibility and individualization
- A belief that change will come with learning new skills
- Not relying on punishment and reward as tools of change
- An understanding that the client is doing the best they can
- An awareness of the whole body and the importance of non verbal healing activities
- An understanding that the person will act better when they are safer, happier and more known
- A deep conviction that the client’s behaviors make sense in view of their experience in the world
I wish I could replace the term trauma-informed care with compassion-informed care. After all, compassion is also becoming a buzz word in our world. Would you like to join me in promoting this change? Let’s all begin referring to what we aspire to do as compassion-informed care.
Let me know in comments what you think of this idea.