Without Obligation.
Discreet & Confidential.

What Is Trauma-Informed Therapy?

What is trauma? Read on to learn more about trauma informed therapy treatment and how to get the best care for your loved ones living with trauma.

What Is Trauma?

Trauma is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as a psychological reaction to a tragic occurrence, such as an accident, rape, or natural disaster. After an incident, shock and denial are common emotions. In the long run, reactions can lead to erratic emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and even physical discomfort like headaches or nausea.1

Causes of Trauma

A bad experience that has a long-lasting effect on the victim’s emotional and mental stability might result in trauma. The major causes of trauma are physical acts of violence, while some are psychological. The following are a few typical contributing factors:


  • Domestic abuse
  • Rape
  • Natural catastrophes
  • loss of a close relative
  • severe injury or illness
  • witnessing a violent crime

Even though a traumatic incident frequently triggers trauma, it is not always the case. One could occasionally experience shock because of seeing something from a distance.

Trauma Signs and Symptoms

There are a few fundamental signals one must watch out, for even though there are many trauma symptoms

When someone has observed a distressing event, they frequently appear confused and unsettled. They might not engage in conversation as frequently as they normally would and seem reserved when speaking.

Trauma-Induced Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the typical symptoms of a trauma victim. Trauma-induced anxiety can occasionally appear as jitteriness, anger, night terrors, mood changes, and difficulty concentrating. A person who has experienced trauma may have a variety of emotions, including:

  • Denial
  • Rage
  • Fear
  • Grief
  • Humiliation
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Despair

What Is Trauma-Informed Therapy?

Trauma-informed therapy considers the influence of individuals’ trauma on their behavior, mental health, and capacity to participate in treatment.

Who Is a Trauma-Informed Therapist?

Trauma-informed therapists assume that a client may have experienced trauma in the past and take precautions to prevent unintentionally triggering or re-traumatizing the client during therapy. This is an extremely important part of the process and will help lead to positive results.

Why Is a Trauma-Informed Approach Necessary?

As its name suggests, trauma-informed therapy helps treat those who have gone through trauma, whether as children or adults. This method can guarantee emotional safety in sessions, even if a person is not receiving treatment specifically for their trauma.2

A trauma-informed approach won’t hurt someone who doesn’t require trauma-informed care, even though not everyone has experienced trauma. This is why many healthcare professionals adopt a trauma-informed approach during all sessions, not just when a particular experience is connected to the presenting issue.2

Benefits of Trauma-Focused Therapy

Various benefits of trauma-focused therapy will be discussed further below.

Understand Your Trauma

Trauma-focused therapy gives children and their families a place to learn about typical reactions to trauma and how a traumatic incident has affected the child and family.4

Re-Establish Safety

By definition, a traumatic event causes a breach in your child’s sense of security. This involves abuse of one’s psychological, relational, emotional, or bodily safety. Through exercises and talks that focus on these areas, trauma-focused therapy can help a child redevelop internal (emotional, psychological, relational) and physical (contact, environment) perceptions of safety.4

Identify Triggers

Another advantage of the treatment is that a person can learn to identify the situations or emotions that might serve as triggers for traumatic memories and better control how they react to them in the future.4

Develop Healthy Coping Skills

The goal of trauma-focused therapy sessions is to assist people in learning skills and enhancing coping mechanisms so they can react to memories and emotions connected to the traumatic incident more effectively. Techniques for managing anxiety and relaxation are a few of these characteristics.4

Decrease In Traumatic Stress Symptoms

Individuals can learn and put their abilities to use to lessen traumatic stress symptoms and other mental health symptoms related to the trauma by participating in trauma-focused therapy and working closely with the therapist.4

Rebuild Your Sense of Self

One objective of trauma-informed therapy is to assist a patient in taking back control of their life by gently helping them retell their story.4

What are The Principles of Trauma-Informed Care?

The core principles of trauma-informed care will be detailed below.


While receiving treatment from medical personnel, patients must feel secure. Therapists should ensure that their patients and their families experience physical, emotional, and psychological safety.

Organizations in the healthcare industry should create secure environments for patients and their families. For instance, waiting rooms should provide enough room for people who might be re-traumatized by sitting next to someone else.3

Trustworthiness + Transparency

When dealing with patients who have experienced traumatic experiences like domestic abuse, assault, or other forms of abuse, therapists must be open and honest to establish a sense of trust. Due to a lack of trust, patients are frequently reluctant to seek medical attention. These patients may believe that if their loved ones can harm them, then anybody else might.3

Peer Support

Therapists, physicians, and other medical professionals must fully understand the many traumatic conditions and how they impact patient care to deliver trauma-informed care. Medical personnel must accept the possibility that each patient has gone through a traumatic experience that prevents them from being upfront about their medical issues. Instead of attempting to “cure” or “heal” a problem, experts can ascertain a patient’s requirements by actively listening to them.3


Creating treatment programs should be collaborative between therapists and medical institutions. Patients, therapists, and medical institutions will collaborate to produce the intended outcome. Patients take an active role in making their healthcare decisions when there is teamwork.3

Patient Empowerment and Choice

The goal of therapy is to provide individuals who have experienced trauma the ability to regain control of their health. They should encourage patients to feel at ease telling their stories to do this. Therapists should effectively communicate with patients about their treatment options and allow them to play an active role in making decisions regarding their care.3

Obstacles to Receiving Trauma-Informed Therapy

Listed below are obstacles to receiving trauma-informed therapy:

  • People don’t understand different kinds of therapy.
  • Avoidance and trauma disclosure: people who have gone through trauma avoid opening up about it and may be reluctant to seek help.
  • Limited resources: qualified psychologists with training in trauma-focused treatments are not available.
  • People don’t understand what trauma is.

How to Find Out If Your Therapist is Trauma-Informed

Asking your therapist if they are trauma-informed is the best way to find out! The way someone talks about the therapy process can also give you a hint as to whether they are trauma-informed. They may be trauma-informed if they frequently discuss safety, limits, and self-care.5

Get Help at San Diego Detox Center

It’s okay to ask for assistance if you or a loved one is struggling with the impacts of trauma. Our trauma-informed therapists at San Diego Detox Center will acknowledge your feelings and give you the sound coping skills you need to process your trauma safely.