Trauma Informed Care

Sanctuary Model

SAMHSA Trauma Informed Care website

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Trauma Informed Peer Support training


Greek word for trauma τραύμα  means “wound”

Trauma Informed Care starts with Trauma Awareness

We are now offering a Trauma Awareness and Peer Support training

SAMHSA’s working definition of trauma for the individual:

Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.

Events or circumstances of trauma may include actual or extreme threat of physical or psychological harm or severe life-threatening neglect for a child that interferes with healthy development.

The individual’s experience of these events or circumstances help to determine whether it is a traumatic event. A particular event may be experienced as traumatic to one person and not to another.

The long-lasting adverse effect of the event are a critical component of trauma. The duration may be short-term or long-term.

There are many kinds of trauma, including but not limited to the following:

Community Trauma—this includes predatory violence (e.g. rape, robbery) and violence from personal conflicts experienced as a victim or witness.

Complex Trauma—exposure to multiple and/or prolonged traumatic events as the individual is maturing: typically involving psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and domestic violence.

Early Childhood Trauma—experienced by children, aged 0-6, as a result of intentional physical or sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence, natural disasters, accidents, or the loss of a parent or caregiver.

Neglect—children or elders not having basic care needs met (e.g. food, shelter, safe environment, etc.)

The 4 “R”’s of a Trauma-Informed Approach


According to SAMHSA’s concept of a trauma-informed approach:  “A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed:

 Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;  Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system;  Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices;  and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.”


SAMHSA’s Six Key Principles of a

 Trauma-Informed Approach

“A trauma-informed approach reflects adherence to six key principles, rather than a prescribed set of practices or procedures.  These principles may be generalizable across multiple types of settings, although terminology and application may be setting- or sector-specific:

  1. Safety
  2. Trustworthiness and Transparency
  3. Peer support
  4. Collaboration and Mutuality
  5. Empowerment, Voice, and Choice
  6. Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues

From SAMHSA’s perspective, it is critical to promote the linkage to recovery and resilience for those individuals and families impacted by trauma.  Consistent with SAMHSA’s definition of recovery, services and supports that are trauma-informed build on the best evidence available, consumer and family engagement, empowerment, and collaboration.”


Surviving Spirit Newsletter by Michael Skinner