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What Does It Mean to be a Trauma Informed Therapist?




Are we all traumatized?


This question crossed my mind while learning to be a trauma informed therapist. It seems like the world is full of pain and hardships. Living as a human can feel very difficult sometimes. This led me to wonder if we are all gripping with trauma. And yet, trauma often comes with the perception of being “broken” or that something is “wrong with you.”


A trauma informed therapist does not look at clients as though they are broken. Instead, they ask what happened to you, rather than what is wrong with you?


Trauma does not mean being broken. It means that we can all become overwhelmed and challenged by the cultural, historical, societal, and gender issues that are prevalent in the world and affect us all.


What Actually is Trauma?


Verywell Mind explains “trauma [as] any type of distressing event or experience that can have an impact on a person’s ability to cope and function” Trauma has a significant impact on the brain by increasing cortisol and norepinephrine. These increased chemicals inhibit brain growth and affects memory. A trauma informed therapist is aware of trauma’s affects of the brain and hones interventions to help a person heal from the damage caused by trauma.


What Does a Trauma Informed Therapist Do?


A trauma informed therapist understand the powerful effects of trauma. A trauma informed therapist knows that safety, empathy, compassion, and trust are paramount to healing the mind and body, which become damaged by trauma. A trauma informed therapist also understands that trauma is never a person’s fault and will work with a client to ease the shame and blame that gets associated with trauma.


For instance, many clients experienced trauma due to being marganized by society in the form of racism, lack of access to quality and affordable healthcare, and other forms of discrimination. In short, a trauma informed therapist looks at the whole picture of a person’s life and responds to clients in a way that emphasizes collaboration and empowerment.


How Do I Know If I Have A Trauma Informed Therapist?


A trauma informed therapist will create an environment that is conducive to healing clients from trauma. They will do this by honoring clients’ voices, choices, and what they want or need from therapy. A client is more likely to heal when they feel respected and trusting towards their therapist.


A trauma informed therapist will help clients develop resilience and coping strategies to manage trauma symptoms.


Clients will feel respected and understood after working with a trauma informed therapist. A non-trauma informed therapist will have the opposite effect. Clients may feel overlooked, misunderstood, and pathologized. In other words, a trauma informed therapist will not leave you wondering if something is wrong with you. Instead, they will free you from the pain of trauma to bring you to what you were meant to reach in your life.


Should I Go To A Trauma Informed Therapist If I’m Not Traumatized?


You don’t have to be traumatized to have experienced trauma. As mentioned above, trauma is a distressing event or experience that impacts a person’s ability to cope and function. Stress is inescapable. A trauma informed therapist will help clients feel more confident in coping with the demands of the world.


A trauma informed therapist meets clients with kindness, compassion and empathy, which everyone needs regardless of level of trauma.


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