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The Importance of
Trauma-Informed Care

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The Importance of<br> Trauma-Informed Care

When it comes to treating those who have experienced trauma, there’s no one-size-fits-all method, especially since everyone experiences trauma differently.

“Trauma has a widespread impact on a person and it’s important to be aware of not only what someone has experienced but how it has impacted them,” explains Wendy Brishke, director of the Michael R. Zent Healthcare Center. “PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] is just one end of the spectrum but it’s not the only trauma-related response.”

“Trauma-informed care is an approach on how to interact with people,” she continues. “It’s not about asking ‘What’s wrong with you?’ it’s about asking, ‘What happened to you?’”

“Providing trauma-informed care at JFCS means that our providers do their best to empower clients to rebuild and heal.”


According to the Buffalo Center for Social Research, “Trauma-Informed Care understands and considers the pervasive nature of trauma and promotes environments of healing and recovery rather than practices and services that may inadvertently re-traumatize.”

The center goes on to provide a helpful visual comparison: “Similar to how healthcare professionals put on gloves when needing to touch patients as universal precautions for pathogens, being trauma informed requires putting on metaphorical gloves by changing interactions, policies and environments to prevent the possibility of re-traumatization.”

Per the Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center, trauma-informed care seeks to:

  1. Realize the widespread impact of trauma and understand paths for recovery.
  2. Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in patients, families and staff.
  3. Integrate knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures and practices.
  4. Actively avoid re-traumatization.

Brishke notes that JFCS clinicians lean into trauma-informed care as a framework to help those who have a wide array of traumatic experiences.

“People experience a vast array of trauma differently,” she says. “For example, the same traumatic event can happen to two people, and they respond two totally different ways. It’s important to note that every individual responds to trauma differently and one person’s experience is not yours. Trauma-informed care is about meeting a person where they are.”

So, what does this look like in practice? While it’s unique in every situation, the Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center notes that the principles of trauma- informed care include:

  • Safety
  • Trustworthiness and transparency
  • Peer support
  • Collaboration
  • Empowerment
  • Humility and responsiveness

“Trauma transforms people, it always impacts them but in different ways depending on the person,” Brishke says. “It’s about finding out someone’s needs and allowing for adjustments in care so as not to trigger more trauma. Providing trauma-informed care at JFCS means that our providers do their best to empower clients to rebuild and heal.”

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