The Importance of finding a Trauma-Informed Clinician
When I was a teenager I experienced physical, emotional and sexual abuse in my dating relationship. For six years I stayed in this abusive dating relationship for a variety of factors and reasons. According to Prevnet, 12% of youth in Canada have reported experiencing physical dating violence. One of the factors that kept me from ending the relationship was that I felt alone, isolated from friends and family, and I was terrified to tell anyone due to threats of harm from my partner. When I finally had the courage to leave this relationship, my parents pushed and supported me to attend counseling. Counseling changed my thoughts of myself, and my experience. The counselor I saw was gentle, safe and trustworthy, and provided me with healthy tools to move forward in my life. This counselor practiced from a trauma-informed lens, and she sparked a desire in me to follow in her professional footsteps. For this reason, I want to share that if you are survivor of abuse, or you know someone who is, it is important to find a trauma-informed support for them. To be a trauma-informed clinician means:
Principles of Trauma-Informed Services (Butler et al, 2011)
- Recognize the impact of violence and victimization on development and coping strategies;
- Identify recovery from trauma as a primary goal;
- Employ an empowerment model;
- Strive to maximize client choices and control of her or his recovery;
- Are based in a relational collaboration;
- Create an atmosphere that is respectful of the survivors’ need for safety, respect, and acceptance;
- Emphasize the clients’ strengths, highlighting adaptations over symptoms and resilience over pathology;
- Strive to minimize the possibilities of re-traumatization;
- Strive to be culturally competent, understanding clients in the context of their life experiences and cultural background;
- Solicit consumer input and involve consumers in the design and evaluation of services.
“Trauma-informed clinicians are sensitive to the ways in which the client’s current difficulties can be understood in the context of the past trauma. The clinician will place emphasis on helping the survivor understand how their past influences the present and on empowering them to manage their present lives more effectively, using core skills of social work practice” (Knight, 2015, p. 25-37)
I am a trauma-informed clinician & so are my colleagues at Wildflowers Therapy ♡ ♡
Butler, L., Critelli, F.M., & Rinfrette, E.S. (2011). Trauma-informed care and mental health. Directions in Psychiatry, 31, 197-210.
Knight, Carolyn., Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice: Practice Considerations and Challenges. 2015, p. 25-37.
Levenson, Jill., Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice. 2017, p. 105-113.
Welcome to PREVNET. PREVNet. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2023, from https://www.prevnet.ca/
Blog Post by Registered Social Worker, Tammy Wagner