Trauma-informed care (TIC) is a type of approach to providing care to individuals who have experienced trauma It is based on the understanding that traumatic experiences can have a long-lasting, profound impact on physical and mental health, relationships, and general well-being. Trauma-informed care approaches recognize the impact of trauma and strive to ensure that the care provided does not retraumatize the individual.
TIC is especially pertinent when considering the context of substance use. Individuals who use substances may have experienced trauma in their lives, including physical, emotional, and sexual trauma. This trauma can shape how a person perceives and interacts with the world. Therefore, when providing care for a person who is using substances, it is important to consider their experience of trauma, and to provide a care plan that is tailored to their individual needs.
One example of trauma-informed care with substance use is providing a safe and supportive environment. This means that the care provider should strive to minimize the risk of retraumatization whenever possible. This includes allowing the individual to have control over the care they are receiving, and offering them the opportunity to make decisions about their care.
Another example of TIC is to focus on building relationships. This could be done in a variety of ways, such as being respectful and supportive, providing emotional support, and being compassionate. The care provider should strive to build a relationship based on trust, understanding, and respect. This can help the individual feel safe and supported, which can be beneficial in their recovery process.
Third, it is important to recognize the importance of self-care. Self-care is the practice of taking care of oneself and attending to one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. This can help the individual feel more in control and better able to manage their own care.
Fourth, it is important to provide non-judgemental support. This can be done by offering a listening ear, giving space for processing and reflecting, and being open to understanding the individual’s experiences. This can help to reduce shame and guilt, and can promote healing.
Finally, it is important to provide education and resources to the individual. This includes educating them about the effects of trauma, teaching them coping skills, and providing them with access to resources that can help in the recovery process.
These five examples of trauma-informed care with substance use can help to improve the quality of care for individuals who use substances and have experienced trauma. They are a reminder that TIC should be an integral part of providing care to individuals struggling with substance use, and can help them to feel more empowered and supported in their recovery journey.