Transforming Therapeutic Approaches Using Trauma-Informed Care

Transforming Therapeutic Approaches Using Trauma-Informed Care

Many clients in treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) have underlying trauma impacting their ability to heal and move forward with their lives. Staff members may also have a history of trauma affecting how they interact with clients and build collaborative relationships. Trauma-informed care (TIC) reduces the risk of retraumatization for both clients and clinicians. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), "TIC views trauma through an ecological and cultural lens and recognizes that context plays a significant role in how individuals perceive and process traumatic events, whether acute or chronic." Driftwood Recovery uses TIC to help clients and clinicians build trusting and beneficial relationships.

Trauma-Informed Care Protects Clinicians From Experiencing Secondary Trauma

Clinicians benefit from TIC. According to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), "Compassion fatigue, or secondary traumatic stress disorder, is a natural but disruptive by-product of working with traumatized clients . . . Many types of professionals, such as physicians, psychotherapists, human service workers and emergency workers, are vulnerable to developing this type of stress." Clients in treatment for substance abuse are more likely to have a history of traumatic events impacting their mental health. Staff members working with these individuals must protect their own health by being mindful of how they respond emotionally to the other person's trauma.

TIC protects staff from secondary trauma by doing the following:

  • Acknowledging how trauma impacts a person's behaviors, beliefs, and thoughts
  • Ensuring clinicians adjust their approach to care in a way that supports trauma recovery
  • Creating a bond of trust between clients and the care team
  • Empowering clients to play an active role in their recovery, reducing stress on clinicians

TIC plays an essential part in recovery for many people with unaddressed trauma. Staff members at Driftwood Recovery are trained to recognize the signs of trauma and treat individuals using empathy and compassion. Being mindful of the impact caused by trauma ensures clients and clinicians feel comfortable, safe, and respected during interactions.

Building Trust By Respecting Client Boundaries

Clients deserve to have their boundaries respected. Often, people with a history of trauma experience trust issues due to past instances of boundaries being pushed or ignored by others. Staff members at Driftwood Recovery understand the importance of building trust with each person. Treatment for substance abuse is much more effective if clients feel comfortable relying on their care team and honestly sharing thoughts or concerns.

Healthcare workers build trust with clients by doing the following:

  • Actively listening and providing support based on client needs, preferences, and treatment goals
  • Being open and honest about potential challenges and offering multiple solutions
  • Collaborating closely with clients and their loved ones to create a personalized treatment experience
  • Modeling healthy interactions and social behaviors

Clients are more likely to respond positively and build trust with staff who show them respect and take the time to truly understand their needs. TIC reduces miscommunication and improves the client-clinician relationship.

Benefits of Trauma-Informed Care in Treatment for Substance Abuse

TIC creates a supportive environment. Clients feel more comfortable engaging with their care team, and staff members gain confidence in their ability to manage challenges related to client care. Trauma-informed, personalized care plans ensure consistent and appropriate treatment through every stage of recovery.

Clients also gain self-awareness and more significant insights into their condition if they engage in TIC. Studies have shown that many "individuals who seek treatment in behavioral health settings have histories of trauma, but they often don't recognize the significant effects of trauma in their lives; either they don't draw connections between their trauma histories and their presenting problems, or they avoid the topic altogether." Clinicians use therapy and other treatment services to help clients better understand and process their trauma.

The Relationship Between Trauma and Substance Abuse

Trauma and substance abuse share many common risk factors, including:

  • Family history of substance abuse or mental health disorders
  • Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • Physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Unhealthy relationship dynamics
  • An unsafe living environment

People diagnosed with SUD have a higher risk of experiencing traumatic events. In addition, individuals with SUD often lack the necessary social support and coping skills to heal from trauma without the help of mental health professionals.

How Does Driftwood Recovery Incorporate Trauma-Informed Care?

Driftwood Recovery provides staff with training and resources designed to address trauma-related issues in a relevant and appropriate way. In addition, staff meet each day to discuss any potential problems or concerns related to client care. Treating clients who have a history of trauma may require additional collaboration from staff members. Driftwood Recovery encourages staff members to share skills between departments to ensure every staff member feels supported and provided with the resources to address trauma-related issues. Everyone benefits from TIC and treatment practices.

Trauma-informed care is an umbrella term used to describe various treatment policies, approaches, and services designed to address trauma and reduce exposure to trauma triggers. Many clients with substance use disorder and mental health issues have underlying trauma impacting their ability to heal. Staff members trained to provide trauma-informed care recognize the signs of trauma and how to address it without further traumatizing the client. Driftwood Recovery uses trauma-informed care to protect clients and clinicians, ensuring everyone feels comfortable and safe participating in treatment for SUD. The care team also educates families on the impact of trauma and how to provide support to loved ones in treatment. To learn more about our programs and services, call us at (512) 759-8330.