The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified six fundamental principles of trauma-informed care (TIC) to incorporate into treating individuals with trauma-related problems. These principles recognize the importance of understanding the impact of trauma on an individual’s life and how to provide care best that meets their needs.
The six principles of trauma-informed care and the questions traumatized individuals ask are:
- Safety: The first priority in any trauma-informed care setting is to ensure the safety of everyone involved. This means creating a safe emotional and psychological environment while addressing potential safety risks that could lead to additional re-traumatization.
“Am I safe here?”
- Trustworthiness and Transparency: It is essential that any trauma-informed care setting be transparent and trustworthy. This means that all information is shared openly and honestly and that individuals are free to ask questions and express concerns.
“Can I trust you?”
- Peer Support: Peer support is an essential part of the healing process for individuals who have experienced trauma. This means that individuals should be encouraged to reach out to others who have had similar experiences to build a support network.
“Who shares my experiences?”
- Collaboration and Mutuality: Individuals in trauma-informed care settings must work together to create an atmosphere of collaboration and mutuality. All individuals involved should feel respected and valued, and their experiences and perspectives from past trauma should be considered in any activity or treatment plan.
“Do I have a choice?”
- Empowerment: Individuals in trauma-informed care settings should be empowered to make their own decisions and take control of their healing process. This means that individuals should be encouraged to take an active role in their care and to make decisions that are in their best interests.
“Do I have a voice that will be heard?”
- Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues: It is essential that any trauma-informed care setting consider the cultural, historical, and gender issues that may impact an individual’s experience and recovery. This means that individuals should be encouraged to discuss their experiences without fear of judgment or criticism.
“Is my cultural, gender, or history valued?”
These six principles of trauma-informed care, outlined by SAMHSA, are essential to providing effective, individualized, and compassionate care to individuals who have experienced trauma. By ensuring that these principles are incorporated into all aspects of care, we can create a safe and supportive environment for individuals to heal and move forward.
At its core, trauma-informed care is about understanding and responding to the needs of individuals and eliminating practices that lead to re-traumatization. It is about creating a safe and supportive environment where individuals can explore their experiences and work toward recovery. By incorporating SAMHSA’s six key principles of trauma-informed care, we can ensure that individuals receive the care and support they need to heal and move forward.