Trauma Informed Care (TIC) is an approach to practice that raises awareness of the impact of psychological trauma and how common it is in society. Whether considered a movement or an approach to practice, people working in all sectors of human services should have a basic understanding of what TIC is and why it’s important for anyone in the helping professions.
The Community Technical Assistance Center (CTAC) of New York State, in collaboration with Coordinated Care Services, Inc. (CCSI), created a series of self-learning modules to increase knowledge and awareness of TIC. Although TIC is gaining traction across many service sectors from healthcare to behavioral health to schools to child welfare, a number of factors can interfere with its full and complete emabrace by services providers and educators. For instance, trauma informed care can sometimes be confused with trauma treatment, or more specifically with treatment of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). From our perspective, TIC is an umbrella term that includes trauma treatment, but also much more. We view TIC as a change in mindset about how services are delivered at the organizational level.
The self-learning package includes 4 modules, 20-30 minutes in length that cover a range of topics associated with TIC, including: definitions of trauma, adversity and toxic stress; the impact of trauma on well-being and development; understanding the guiding principles of TIC, and; understanding the human stress response and the science behind TIC. Everyone providing services to children, youth, adults or families should have a basic understanding of trauma and toxic stress. Our main goal in developing these learning modules is to raise awareness about TIC and provide common language about trauma and trauma informed care to foster communication within and across organizations.
Our hope is that the self-learning modules will serve three purposes. First, we hope that they could be used as an on-boarding or orientation tool for all new staff, although it could also be used to training existing staff who are unaware of TIC. Second, it can also be used to engage in organizational change projects. Organizational assessment tools like the TRUST or TRUST-S available on the New York State Trauma Informed networks website could more easily be completed if oranizational stakeholders have some of the common language contained in these modules. Lastly, we hope that the modules can be used in preparation for engaging in more intensive skills training to learn new interventions and practices that help create tauma responsive enviroments.