Understanding Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care

Friday, May 25, 2018
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Joanna Bridger, LICSW


Trauma and its associated mental health problems are increasingly evident in clinical practice and can create difficult treatment challenges. To further complicate this picture, people will often enter therapy for a variety of reasons and issues related to trauma which may emerge later in the treatment process.

In order to be adequately prepared, every care provider needs to have a sound understanding of trauma and how it may present in clients with whom they are working, as well as the value of a trauma-informed approach in all aspects of their work.

Trauma-Informed Care is an organizational structure and approach that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care explains that “a trauma-informed approach is based on the recognition that many behaviors and responses (often seen as symptoms) expressed by survivors and consumers are directly related to traumatic experiences that often cause mental health, substance abuse, and physical health concerns.”

Trauma-informed care aims to engage people with histories of trauma, recognize the presence of trauma symptoms, and acknowledge the role that trauma has played in their lives.

This training will provide information about the prevalence and impact of traumatic events and will look at why a focus on trauma is important. It will discuss the idea of trauma-informed care and what it means to be trauma informed. In addition, how trauma-informed care differs from, and overlaps with, trauma treatment will be addressed. The training will also include information about what providers can do to make sure their practices and policies are more trauma-informed.

Following this training, participants will understand:

  • The prevalence of potentially traumatic events.
  • How and why potentially traumatic events can have long term effects on people who experience them.
  • The value of using a “trauma lens.”
  • How to describe the concept of “trauma-informed” care and how it is a significant perspective shift from traditional models of care.
  • The differences and overlaps between trauma-informed care and trauma-focused treatment.

Joanna Bridger, LICSW is the Clinical Services Director for the Riverside Trauma Center. She has worked with youth, families, adults, and communities that have experienced traumas in a wide range of settings in the U.S. and abroad for nearly 20 years. In addition to responding to community disasters and providing trainings for the community on trauma, resilience, trauma-informed care, and suicide prevention and postvention, she is also responsible for coordinating Riverside Trauma Center's Trauma and Loss Counseling program. Ms. Bridger has an MSW from the University of Michigan with a concentration in Health and a Certificate in Traumatic Stress Studies from the Trauma Center at JRI.

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