What is trauma-informed care?
On Thursday, September 27th, St. Francis House welcomed Katie Volk from the Center for Social Innovation for a presentation on trauma-informed care. Trauma-informed care endeavors to do no harm in a treatment framework that involves understanding and responsiveness. Because trauma is a universal experience, our staff members strive to care for guests with a trauma-informed approach.
Who experiences trauma?
Anyone can experience trauma at any age. Those who experience trauma during the developmental stages of life see particularly long-lasting effects. Often, the effects of trauma disrupt a person’s relationships, mental health, etc. Even after someone has experienced trauma, he or she can still experience triggers that stir up the emotions and memories of the traumatic incident. These triggers can occur every day or not at all for a number of years after a traumatic incident. Regardless of when they occur, triggers can deeply affect someone. With this in mind, a trauma-informed approach encourages caregivers to not blame guests for how triggers affect them, but rather approach guests with understanding and compassion.
Traumatic stress vs. other stress
Traumatic stress differs from other types of stress in that traumatic stress provokes feelings of powerlessness and vulnerability. Additionally, someone can experience physical reactions in the body to trauma such as changing body temperature and shortness of breath. As a result, traumatic stress causes a person to feel that there is a threat to his or her physical and emotional well-being.
Learning about the effects trauma has on a person underscores the importance of trauma-informed care. At St. Francis House, a trauma-informed program of care centers itself on values of respect, honesty, and empowerment for guests. By creating a safe physical and emotional environment for guests, staff members assist guests on their pathways to recovery and stability.
Many thanks for Katie and the Center for Social Innovation for providing an informative and compelling presentation.