My initial response to Anna’s experience with the MH system is sadness and frustration. It’s heartbreaking to think that she was never offered or allowed to tell her story in her own words. Part of the healing process is being empowered to use your voice and express your thoughts out loud. The statements “Symptoms are adaptions to distress” and “Truth lies in a person’s story, not in their symptoms?” reminds me to place the focus on the client (as a whole being) rather than placing the focus on the problem or symptoms.
I agree with Harris and Fallot’s paradigm shift from traditional approach to a trauma –informed approach. It is important to me to understand the whole person vs just focusing on a problem. When we listen to a client and their story, we begin to understanding the whole person. This approach helps to build a trusting relationship, reinforces respect, and it’s a way to support a client by working together.
I work in a primary care setting. I recently met with a 37 yo female who presented to staff as angry and defensive. She has a long history of trauma from her child hood and adulthood. I was able to take the time to listen to her story and hear her concerns. We worked together to break down some of the issues and we coordinated with her primary care provider. As I sat and listened to this pt, I got a sense that it was less about being angry and defensive and more that she was guarded and protecting herself.
The organization I work for includes behavioral health treatment within the practice. Our behavioral health team provides trauma informed care. We offer a safe and quiet environment. For example, recently I worked with a patient who struggles with anxiety in large crowds. The team offered to accommodate this pt by rooming the pt as soon as she arrived. This decreased her level of anxiety, and empowered her to continue to come to her follow up appts. We collaborate and partner with are patients and recognize the value in sharing of power and decision-making. Empowering our pts to engage in their own healthcare is a principle that most providers agree with. The more involved a patient is in decision making around their healthcare, the better outcomes with their health overall.
A barrier that I see from day to day, is this practice is a big practice, involving multiple disciplines. We have a high turnover rate with staff and continual education around TIC is so important