The Importance of Trauma-informed Care in Today’s Treatment

Last month, Oprah Winfrey addressed the issue of trauma in our country on a 60 Minutes segment.  The report received a great deal of attention, as it should. She introduced the idea of trauma-informed care and called it “a revolutionary approach spreading across the country.” However, this approach to treatment is not necessarily new to the National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH) and treatment providers like Timberline Knolls.

ptsdphoto-smallRecognizing that more than 40 percent of children in the U.S. have experienced at least one or more traumatic events, the NCBH knew that creating a supportive environment was imperative to both social development and learning. Through trauma-informed trainings and consultations, this group has worked to effect practice change within more than 700 organizations, including schools, over the past seven years.

As with the UCBH, trauma-informed care is the standard of practice at Timberline Knolls.  Taking an individualized, integrated approach, we address trauma through mind, body, and relationships.  We provide psychosocial and process-oriented groups that address how trauma affects the mind.  In these groups, our residents learn about the nuts and bolts of trauma. What is it? What are the symptoms?  What can I do about it now?

We examine the neurobiology of trauma and how it impacts the myriad ways our residents process information.  We address the resiliency of the human brain, which means that anyone, regardless of their history, has the opportunity to re-pattern her neural pathways.

In addition, we utilize dance/movement therapy, trauma-informed yoga, restorative yoga, and art therapy.  These modalities support stabilization of the nervous system, allowing residents to increase distress tolerance.  These groups are also expressive, which is a vital component of cultivating creative imagination—an internal process often fragmented by traumatic experiences.

Lastly, we address trauma through relationship, knowing that the therapeutic relationship is what holds it all together.  Relationship is the crucible of change. Therefore, all groups and all interactions are held within a trauma-informed framework.