Trauma-Informed Care is mental health treatment that incorporates:

  • An appreciation for the high prevalence of traumatic experiences in persons who receive mental health services
  • A thorough understanding of the profound neurological, biological, psychological and social effects of trauma and violence on the individual (Jennings, 2004)

Trauma Informed Care (TIC) is a holistic, person-centered approach to treatment that understands and incorporates the biological, psychological, neurological, and social impact of trauma on an individual.  On December 13, 2011, a Trauma Training for Bucks County Behavioral Health staff and administration was sponsored by Magellan to promote agency adoption of TIC practices.  This was the start of Lenape Valley Foundation’s Trauma Informed Care Agency Planning Committee. The committee incorporates a cross section of LVF staff and peer specialists. For more information about joining LVF’s TIC Committee, please contact Kara Sharp at 267-893-5112.

Trauma Informed Care Toolkit

In order to promote and facilitate the journey towards wellness, the Trauma Informed Care Committee offers a toolkit of links to guided exercises, coping skills and strategies that can be followed as needed.

April 2022 – Progressive muscle relaxation is a method that helps relieve tension. You will be tensing groups of muscles as you breathe in, and relaxing them as you breathe out. Muscle groups are worked on in a certain order. When your body is physically relaxed, anxiety drastically decreases. Included below are two guided exercises for PMR. (female voice) (male voice)

July 2022 – Solution-Focused Self Prompts – Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is a short-term approach that counterbalances intense emotions, identifies meaningful coping strategies, cultivates competencies, and navigates gradual steps for the immediate future. The strategies enhance an individual’s resilience, decreases distress and minimizes risk of re-traumatization.

Some of the strategies involve prompts in the form of questions that we encourage use of outside of therapy. Our TIC Tip for this month will incorporate solution-focused questions, aimed at facilitating our own improvement.

Prompt 1: What has been happening that you want to keep happening?

Prompt 2: How can you do more of this, and continue to do more of what is already working?

Our suggestions for this month incorporate nature and the arrival of sunny and warm weather: taking more walks, spending more time in nature/outdoors, increasing physical activity, taking the next positive step, mindful stretching for 5 minutes – outdoors on a warm day, if possible!

November 2022 – We are sometimes conditioned to place judgments on our observations. We judge others and we judge ourselves. Judgment can create a hostile, negative environment. It can lead to shame, sadness, and guilt. The Nonjudgmentally skill helps shift our perspective to factual observations instead of judgments and move away from evaluations based on opinion.

The Nonjudgmentally skill includes observing an object/person/experience, noting thoughts about it, and allowing the thoughts to move away. We are focusing more on the facts of this experience (what we can see, hear, touch, smell, taste), and adopting a curious mind about this observation. We are leaving out comparisons, opinions and assumptions. Our TIC Tip for this month involves leaving out judgments of good/bad, and observing everything simply as is.

A Suggested Exercise: A common theme this month has been politics. See if you can hold a nonjudgmental stance when talking about this topic with another person or considering a candidate. Suggestions include speaking about values/morals instead of making negative judgments about an opposing candidate, adopting a radical acceptance stance of each person, separating a person’s ideas from the worth/identity of that person, and observing your own judgments and allowing them to pass like any other thought (avoid holding on to them as facts). We encourage the Nonjudgmentally skill this month as another way to treat ourselves/others with kindness and respect.

February 2023 – Resilience and Flexibility – Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to trauma, tragedy, or stress. We are approaching the 3-year anniversary of the Covid pandemic, which for many, has been recognized as a traumatic event. This month, we are working towards shifting our individual perspectives and culture while creating safe, compassionate, and equitable spaces that support resilience and growth and minimize re-traumatization.

To promote resilience and flexibility, we are keeping the following in mind during interactions and conversations with others:

~ Two people may share the same traumatic event but have different experiences and outcomes.

~Individuals reach personal decisions based on their own unique experiences that are valid and significant, regardless of a differing opinion of others.

~It is important to pay attention to strengths and remember how we’ve all successfully handled challenges in the past.

~Embracing change as a natural and integral part of our experience leads to essential growth and flexibility.

A Suggested Re-Frame: This framework asks not, “What’s wrong with you?” but rather, “What happened to you?” and “What’s strong with you?”