There’s a new buzzword circulating the mental health field and counseling offices: trauma-informed care. This adjusted way of thinking has been revolutionizing the way professionals provide therapy, and you are likely to encounter it in your mental health journey.
If you’ve looked through our therapist page you’ve probably seen trauma-informed care or trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy in their bios. Trauma-informed care is a new way for therapists to provide counseling in a way that takes the whole person into account, including past events.
After all, you are not just your diagnosis. You are your hobbies, goals, dreams, relations, and- to an extent- your trauma. By having the complete picture of who you are, RIVIA Mind therapists can provide better counseling that will help you recover faster and live healthier.
What is Trauma-Informed Care?
According to the Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center, Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy seeks to do four things:
- Understand trauma affects every part of our life
- Recognize both the obvious and obscure symptoms of trauma
- Integrate knowledge of trauma into the counselor’s practice
- Actively avoid re-traumatization (“triggering”, or reopening an old wound caused by trauma)
Above all else, trauma-based care is strength-based. It seeks to acknowledge your pain while also empowering you to overcome your past and build an exciting future. Instead of asking “What’s wrong with you?”, it asks “How is your past shaping you?”
Do I Have Trauma?
Many mental illnesses are co-morbid, meaning they exist together. Anxiety often spurs depression, ADHD gives way to anxiety, and trauma can be the starting point for many mental health struggles. So, while addressing your anxiety, depression, or eating disorder is good, it might not be the root cause. Trauma-informed care is all about finding the root cause of your pain and starting the healing there.
So, what is trauma? Most people understand why things like a car crash, physical violence, or major natural disaster can have instant and large negative effects on your life. But they would fall into only one of three types of trauma.
Categories of Trauma:
- Acute- A single instance of trauma such as a car crash, sexual assault, robbery, or natural disaster.
- Chronic- Long-term exposure to repeated or prolonged trauma such as child abuse/neglect, domestic violence, physical illness, and witnessing active combat or violence. Military and first responders often suffer from this kind of trauma.
- Complex- Multiple exposures to or prolonged trauma that are invasive and interpersonal (coming from people close to the victim). It occurs during childhood and may not be as obvious as acute and chronic trauma. Things like poverty, neglect, unstable housing or emotional support, being forced to make adult decisions as a child, or frequent exposure to high levels of stress can form complex PTSD.
Even if you don’t think you’ve experienced a trauma, chances are you have experienced unpleasantness that your body and mind are still reacting to. It’s our brain’s job to keep us alive, so aversive experiences shape us in one way or another. That’s why trauma-informed care is so important. It gives back the power trauma may have taken from you and helps you use that power to shape your life into a healthy, fulfilling one.
Past trauma has a say in much of what you do now, but it doesn’t define you. Trauma-based care doesn’t seek to either. For more information about the trauma-informed care RIVIA Mind offers, or to schedule an appointment today, give us a call at (212) 203-1773. Or click here to schedule your free 15-minute consultation.