It is quite sad to note that 1 in 4 children experiences some form of trauma or abuse in their childhood (CDC Data). More sobering statistics indicate that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have experienced rape at some point in their lives. This information suggests that many people, both male and female, young and old, have and will experience trauma in their lifetime. Trauma has many impacts on the body and mind, and survivors need to be cared for in a supportive and safe manner.

Supporting People with Trauma 

If you’ve ever gone to the doctor or been treated at an emergency room, you know that the entire scenario can feel incredibly invasive. You are asked to share sensitive information, and your intimate body parts may need to be examined. Very often, the medical treatment may be uncomfortable and even painful. 

Trauma survivors are often hypervigilant, they have learned to look out for danger at every turn. They have a high need to protect themselves from others, even in the cases of medical examinations.

So how can medical professionals provide quality healthcare to people who have experienced some form of trauma in their past? Through trauma-informed care. 

What is Trauma-Informed Care? 

Trauma-informed care is an approach to healthcare that focuses on creating safety for the client. Empowering the person by allowing them to share what they are experiencing and giving them choices where applicable and appropriate. This style of care is particularly helpful for sexual abuse survivors.  

Of course, a provider would never ask a prospective or new patient if they have experienced serious trauma in the past. Instead, it is simply assumed that each individual may have experienced some form of trauma, and the practitioner acts accordingly. 

This can mean many different things, but typically it means clear and gentile communication. It means inviting the patient to share their needs if they need a break from a painful or embarrassing exam. It also means allowing a family member to be present during the exam if it would be more supportive for the individual. 

The bottom line is that trauma-informed care puts the mental and emotional needs on equal footing with a patient’s physical needs in that moment. It is an approach that requires compassion and a desire to heal the entire person. 

When supporting trauma survivors in the mental and emotional areas. I take a person-centered, strengths-based approach to therapy. I never ask, “what is wrong with you” instead I invite clients to share by asking, “what happened to you?” Therapy is provided in a judgment-free environment as we explore how clients learned to survive and how to address unprocessed trauma.

For more information on how I can support you in your healing journey, contact me today.


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