What have your past and present medical and mental health experiences been like?
- Did you feel physically and psychologically safe?
- Were you able to trust your provider, have a voice, and collaborate in your treatment?
- Was there transparency within the treatment process?
- Were biases, stereotypes, and historical trauma recognized and addressed within the organization and its team in which you sought services?
- Did you feel fully seen and empowered to begin your path toward healing?
These are all guiding principles of trauma-informed-care.
My hope is that your positive experiences in healthcare outweigh the negative ones and that providers can work together to make healthcare a safe, welcoming, and inclusive space. By addressing institutional-racism embedded within the medical and mental health systems and proactively working to reduce racial disparities through systemic changes in patient care, change is possible.
As an outpatient mental health clinic that seeks to provide quality counseling services to a diverse community, we recognize that some individuals seeking care have been impacted by historical-trauma in addition to other significant traumas or events that prompt seeking help. CARE Counseling seeks to build community to strengthen the community and advance social justice in mental health.
It is essential for healthcare providers to build awareness to the experiences of patients. Rather than asking “What is wrong with you?”, it is important to understand the context of one’s narrative. Therefore, a more appropriate question would be to ask, “What has happened to you?” It is important to hold space for a variety of reactions to traumatic events and to be respectful to the identities, cultural norms, practices, and beliefs systems of individuals, families, and communities.
Here are Five Ways to Integrate Trauma-Informed-Care
- Build awareness and generate buy in.
- Invest in a trauma informed workforce. Hire staff that value shared goals to create a trauma-informed workplace and invest in quality training for both clinical and non-clinical staff
- Create a safe physical and emotional environment.
- Engage patients in meaningful ways.
- Identify and treat trauma. Screen for trauma. Do care coordination with referral partners. Provide effective treatment and facilitate collective healing with communal support.
Written By : Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC
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