Understanding The Principles Of Trauma-Informed Care

Last Update on August 31, 2022 : Published on August 31, 2022

Trauma is something that affects a large number of people. Did you know that 6 out of 10 men and 5 out of 10 women experience some kind of trauma at least once in their lifetime? That makes it 50%-60% of the entire population to be dealing with trauma.

Knowing that almost half of the world experiences trauma (intense or light), makes me feel that the treatment for trauma should be responsible enough to cater the needs of trauma survivors. Trauma-informed care is such an approach that treats people with trauma but keeps in mind that no matter what they do, making the patient revisit their traumatizing feelings and emotions is a big NO!

As a layman, it’s important for you to know how trauma-informed care works because you should know the course of treatment and the principles on which your treatment is based so that you know you won’t be re-traumatized.

To help you with just that, let’s talk about trauma-informed care…

What Is Trauma-Informed Care?


Trauma-informed care is an approach that focuses on providing the best care and support to trauma survivors keeping in mind the kind of trauma they have been through. The main focus of trauma-informed care is not to re-traumatize the patient during the course of treatment.

Now, before we talk more about trauma-informed care, let’s talk about trauma first.

What is trauma? Trauma is an emotional response to something that you have experienced or witnessed which is very painful or terrifying in nature. Trauma can happen to anyone who has been through abuse, violence, natural calamity, or something that is extremely horrifying.

While someone with trauma is being treated, the first thing they expect is that they never want to feel that way again. Which is exactly what trauma-informed care aims at. In all their treatment procedures the main importance is given to not re-traumatizing the person.

What is re-traumatization? I have used the word re-traumatization a lot and what I mean by it is the situation where you make the trauma survivor feel the same way they did during the actual experience of trauma. There is a fine line between exploring the traumatizing thoughts and replaying the whole trauma in mind.

In trauma-informed care, they tend to provide help, care, and treatment without making the person uncomfortable. They make sure that nothing that is associated with or similar to their traumatic event is in the vicinity while they are being treated for their trauma.

Also read: 10 Healthy Tips To Deal With Trauma

4 R’s Of Trauma-Informed Care

There are four key assumptions about trauma-informed care. These assumptions have been given by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). According to them, trauma-informed care functions on these assumptions in order to provide safe care to trauma survivors.

Let’s look at the key assumptions of trauma-informed care popularly known as the ‘4 R’s of trauma-informed care;

  1. Realize: to realize the impact of trauma and the potential of recovery
  2. Recognize: to recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in the patient, their family as well as the staff (caregivers)
  3. Respond: to respond to the knowledge gained about the symptoms through policies, procedures, and practices
  4. Resist Re-traumatization: resist re-traumatization at any cost by making the interventions more sensitive and informed

Also Read: What is Trauma Informed Mindfulness: Complete Guide


Principles Of Trauma-Informed Care

Now that you know the meaning of trauma-informed care and the assumptions or the 4 R’s of trauma-informed care, upon which it all functions, let’s look at the principles of trauma-informed care so that we know what forms the base of trauma-informed care and what makes it so special.

  1. Safety: it is one of the most important principles of trauma-informed care. They are completely focused on making all their patients feel safe and secure (physically, mentally, and emotionally) during treatment. They don’t stop just there, they also try to create a safe environment for their own staff.
  2. Trustworthiness + Transparency: all the decisions that are made or are to be made for the betterment of the patient are done with full transparency. There is no space for hiding or manipulating the truth. They do this in order to build trust because if you can’t trust the process, recovery becomes difficult to achieve.
  3. Peer Support: peer support is given a lot of importance in trauma-informed care. They believe that people who have had the same experiences or people who truly understand the plight of the patient can play a vital role in their road to recovery.
  4. Collaboration: there is a collaboration between the staff and the patients being treated. There is no indifference among people, they expect their staff to work along with the patients so that recovery happens soon. Both staff and patients work together towards the same goal.
  5. Empowerment: in trauma-informed care, they try to identify the weaknesses and strengths of their patients and work on providing more power to their strengths so that they become more empowered and self-sufficient.
  6. Humility + Responsiveness: they do not indulge in biases and stereotypes but they do work on recognizing them and addressing them as problems that need to be curbed.

That’s All Folks!

That’s all about the principles of trauma-informed care. I hope you found this blog interesting and helpful. It’s important to know how your treatment facility works so that you know what you’ll be going through. Do share this blog with your friends and family if they’ve been trauma survivors or are seeking treatment for trauma because trauma-informed care can be what they are looking for.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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