My general reactions to the story are sadness and anger. There were so many times when Anna could have been helped that were missed. “Symptoms are adaptations to distress” seems to me to be a very true statement. As a sexual abuse trauma victim, I know that I exhibit behaviors (depression/anxiety) that others consider a mental illness and providers just want to throw medication at it rather than listen to the story of what happened or how it affected me. I was not believed by most people when I told my story and yet that is where the truth of the situation is. It is in the story that only I can tell.
The traditional approach focuses on the problem rather than the person. As if all people who are experiencing something have come to it the same way and require the same treatment to “be rid of the problem” A trauma informed approach looks at how a person got to where they are and what they specifically need to heal. I have a young man as a client whose parents often left him and his siblings alone. There did not have the care they needed and many times food money went drugs. This young man was stealing food from his school cafeteria and other children. Without knowing his history, you would not see that he was just trying to care for himself and his four siblings when their parents would not. s
1. Safety: One of the key policies of our agency is to assume that everyone has a trauma history. We are careful to provide safe spaces and do our best not to re-traumatize with our settings, our actions or our words.
2. Collaboration: My whole approach when working with families is that we are a team. The family is part of that team and we bring in others as they allow. I offer solutions and ideas, I do not tell people what to do. Decisions are made using discussion and information.
3. Empowerment: Very key in our organization. We are asked to identify client strengths and also to help clients to identify their own strengths.
4. Peer Support and mutual help: We have a peer support team and if the client wishes to work with a peer support, they are an invaluable resource of support for the client. We also encourage clients to look for natural supports in their life that can be a resource and help with their healing.
All of these principles are adhered to at all levels of our organization. No matter who you talk to or interact with they are going to be supportive and meet you were you are. There is no judging or blaming. I think that education is the key to improving a trauma informed approach. I also believe that listening to clients and hearing what they have to say and using that to inform your policies is very important. ssssssssss