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Trauma-informed Practice

‘Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual wellbeing.’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA, 2014a)

Trauma-informed practice seeks to understand and respond to the impact of trauma on the lives of women and children. It is an approach which emphasises physical, psychological and emotional safety for those who have experienced trauma with the aim of empowering them, enabling them to take back control of their lives.

Those who have experienced domestic and sexual abuse are likely to be living with the effects of long-term trauma. In addition, they may have experienced other traumas in their lives such as bereavement, or the aftereffects of an accident.

The mental health charity Mind has some useful information to offer on the causes of trauma

It is important to understand that trauma affects the whole body. It may change your sleep patterns, change your eating habits, disrupt your digestive system

Symptoms of Trauma

  • Depression, including prolonged sadness, insomnia, or nightmares.
  • Fatigue.
  • Being startled easily.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Racing heartbeat.
  • Edginess and agitation.
  • Aches and pains.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem and questioning sense of self
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including flashbacks, nightmares, physical sensations such as sweating, nausea or trembling.

Visit the NHS site for more information on PTSD

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