The Benefits of Trauma Informed Care

Trauma Informed Care is designed to consider the pervasive nature of a traumatic experience. It assists treatment providers with the services needed to help people who have experienced trauma or have trauma-related stress. Substance abuse counselors know there is a high rate of co-occurrence with substance abuse and trauma.

Trauma Informed Care (TIC)

The intention of TIC is to create changes on an organizational as well as at systemic levels. Changes to organizational culture focus on proper responses and respecting the impact at all levels of trauma. TIC awareness and practice become standard with all service responses to improve a patient’s mental health. It changes from asking what is wrong with a patient to try and realize what happened to a patient.

Support Services

TIC is not designed to treat symptoms but provides for a better recovery. It doesn’t directly treat issues associated with emotional, sexual, or physical abuse or other types of traumatic experiences. This treatment provides appropriate support services that are accessible to patients who could have had a traumatic experience. When procedures do not include an approach that is informed, the chance of triggering or increasing the damage to a patient’s condition is a possibility. The chances of patients being re-traumatized increases.

Principles Of TIC

Five principles make up the structure for care systems and service providers. Their goal is to decrease the chances of a patient experiencing re-traumatization. These principles can be used in many different service settings. They are designed to be interpreted and applied in ways that work best in a particular type of service setting. These five principals are empowerment, safety, trustworthiness, collaboration, and choice.

Empowerment – There will be an emphasis placed on a patient’s strengths and empowering them to increase those strengths. This will be combined with developing the best possible coping skills and a healthy foundation to help when they no longer receive services.

Safety – A patient’s emotional safety is addressed

Trustworthy – A patient needs to know their care provider is trustworthy. This will involve establishing consistent boundaries and being clear on all expectations involving tasks.

Collaboration – A patient is provided more control over their treatment experience with a collaborative effort from their service providers.

Choice – The more choices a patient is permitted to make, the more control they will feel over their service care.

Neurological Understanding

TIC provides a neurological understanding of the threat appraisal systems associated with a patient’s brain response to a traumatic experience. It also pays close attention to a patient’s autonomic nervous system. This is part of a patient’s body that consists of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. Many interventions involve acting upon a patient’s autonomic nervous system. This will be to decrease a nervous system that has been overstimulated. This is accomplished by increasing the activity of a patient’s parasympathetic nervous system.


This treatment often begins by providing patients with psycho-education. This will enable them to understand about symptoms associated with their responses to traumatic events. These responses are done on a cognitive and biological level. They involve processes going on beneath awareness level consciousness. These are things that took place in their body so they could avoid any further harm.


This is focused on providing patients with resources and supports made to be sensitive to the presence of their traumatic symptoms. This could involve the use of a screener during the intake process to detect the existence of any symptoms of a traumatic experience. It includes giving referrals to the providers in the best position to help patients during each stage of their treatment. This may also involve providing patients with recommendations for additional services in addition to therapy. This could include social support services, medication management, or other types of supportive activities that may be appropriate for a patient’s mental health.

Co-occurring symptoms of a traumatic experience is prevalent with substance use disorders. TIC encourages the use of an approach that is strength-based. It is an important way to minimize the chances of a patient experiencing re-traumatization. When a patient’s traumatic experiences are understood, interventions can be made that are sensitive to their psychological, physiological social modes. They can be used to determine the impact of a patient dealing with a previous traumatic experience. It is often the preference of many providers to treat a patient’s source of concern rather than focusing exclusively on their symptoms. This often results in a more effective and longer-lasting recovery.

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