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?”

May 2023 – TIC Lunch and Learn – May 30, 2023 at 12:00 pm – The Trauma Informed Care Committee will be hosting its first Lunch and Learn.

Please join us for an informative and experiential presentation including the following:

The Trauma Informed Experience and Six Key Principles of Trauma Informed Care – presented by Kara Sharp

~Recovery-Oriented Peer Support in a Trauma-Informed Setting – presented by Donna Giordano and Phil Braun

~A Guided Meditation – presented and led by Varun Kunwar

~Questions and Answers – led by Nicole Wolf

November 2023 – Question Persuade Refer and Suicide Prevention – 
LVF hosted the Suicide Prevention Conference this month. QPR is an approach that can target and prevent suicide.

Question, Persuade Refer (the questions below are an introduction to the approach. 

  1. Question: If you believe someone is considering suicide, ask them directly “Are you thinking about suicide or wanting to kill yourself?”. Remember: if you ask the question, you may save a life.
  2. Persuade: Persuade the person to allow you to assist them in getting help right now. Say “Will you go with me to get help?” or “Will you let me assist you in getting help?”
  3. Refer: Refer the person to an appropriate resource for assistance. It’s ideal to personally escort them to see a health care professional. Next best step would be to assist in making arrangements for help and getting their agreement to follow through on this plan.

April 2024 – What if Instead of calling people out, we called them in? An Alternative to Cancel Culture – 
The Calling in Movement, by Loretta J. Ross, demonstrates how difficult conversations are turned into productive discussions. This framework can help address harm while creating space for growth, forgiveness, and understanding.

Loretta J. Ross: Don’t call people out — call them in | TED ( – in this 14-minute clip, Loretta J. Ross teaches about becoming an effective advocate for change by utilizing compassion and self-forgiveness to call in rather than call out others.

  1. Calling Out –Publicly shaming people for something they have done or said that we feel needs to be challenged or they need to be held accountable for.
  2. Calling In- Choosing to pursue accountability, but instead of using anger, shaming, and blaming, we use love, respect, and grace as our method of choice.
  3. Calling On – calling on people to do better and to be better.  It is neither calling someone in nor calling them out. An example of this is looking directly at someone and saying, “I beg your pardon”, then waiting for them to figure out what they said that evokes that reaction.