Trauma Informed Therapy

Trauma-Informed Therapy is utilized by addiction treatment providers in order to provide services to individuals who have experienced trauma. Many people believe that there is a high correlation between substance-use and trauma. In regards to co-occurring disorders, trauma and symptoms of trauma are found frequently with individuals who are undergoing addiction treatment. Thus, it is necessary to utilize trauma informed therapy with patients who have experienced trauma.

What is a Trauma-Informed Approach?

According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a trauma-informed approach is: “a program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed.”

According to their definition, the approach must include the following:

  • 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.

A trauma-informed approach can be utilized in any variety of settings and organizations. However, it should not be confused with trauma-specific interventions or treatments that are created to promote healing from trauma.

SAMHSA’s Six Key Principles of a Trauma-Informed approach include:

  • Safety
  • Trustworthiness and Transparency
  • Collaboration and mutuality
  • Empowerment, voice and choice
  • Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues

Trauma-Specific Interventions

For individuals who have experienced trauma, SAHMSA believes it is critical to promote the linkage to recovery and resilience. In trauma-specific interventions – programs need to recognize the following:

  • The survivor's need to be respected, informed, connected, and hopeful regarding their own recovery
  • The interrelation between trauma and symptoms of trauma such as substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety
  • The need to work in a collaborative way with survivors, family and friends of the survivor, and other human services agencies in a manner that will empower survivors and consumers

Trauma-Informed Approaches

There are a variety of trauma-informed approaches utilized in addiction treatment. Below are a couple oftherapeutic approaches that can be utilized in conjunction with trauma and substance-use.

Seeking Safety:

Seeking Safety is an evidence-based practice utilized to treat symptoms of trauma in a group setting. It was developed by Najavits who designed Seeking Safety in order to foster resilience and teach coping skills for managing symptoms of trauma, rather than processing trauma. If an individual begins to process their trauma without having the appropriate tools to manage their symptoms, the intervention could promote more harm than help. Thus, Seeking Safety, has guidelines that establish the purpose of the group – which is to learn skills and increase resilience. Seeking Safety is not used to process trauma narratives.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a widely used therapy for trauma and PTSD. It draws on a variety of therapeutic approaches including psychoneurology, CBT, information processing, and nonverbal representation of traumatic memories. The main goal in EMDR therapy is to process the experiences that are causing problems.

Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Model (TREM)

TREM is a manualized group-based intervention designed to facilitate trauma recovery among women with exposure to sexual and physical abuse. It draws upon cognitive restructuring, psychoeducational, and skills-training techniques. TREM places focus on the development of coping skills and social support, while addressing both short-term and long-term consequences of violent victimization including mental health symptoms such as PTSD, depression, and substance abuse.

Additional trauma-informed approaches may include forms of psychodrama, CBT, DBT, equine therapy, cognitive processing therapy, and exposure therapy.

Trauma-Informed Care and Addiction Treatment

It is important to find an addiction treatment center that utilizes trauma-informed care and therapies. As mentioned previously, there is a high correlation between symptoms of trauma and substance-use disorders. Trauma informed care can be utilized as a strength-based approach that can minimize the risk of re-traumatization.

To learn more about trauma-informed care and how it can help you, please call LA Outpatient today at (818) 696-5019.

At LA Outpatient, we believe in compassionate, quality care. Our highly trained staff of addiction experts will work with you to overcome your addiction. If you are wondering if outpatient treatment at LA Outpatient is right for you, please call us at (818) 696-5019 so we can guide you and answer any of your questions about enrolling in treatment at LA Outpatient.