RCCS Tidbit of the Month: Trauma-Informed Care

The following post is from our Recovery-Centered Clinical System (RCCS) Tidbit of the Month series. Each month, the RCCS Steering Committee creates practices to support our recovery culture within our programs and among staff. Click here to learn more about the RCCS.

RCCS Tidbit of the Month: What Happened To You?

A Component of the Five Awarenesses of the RCCS Program Culture

According to , trauma is defined as an experience or set of circumstances that is physically or emotionally harmful, resulting in lasting adverse effects on an individual's well-being. Trauma can leave individuals struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety. It can manifest in various ways, such as feeling numb, disconnected, or unable to trust others. Acknowledging that trauma responses are normal reactions to abnormal events is essential.

The Importance of Trauma-Informed Care

In many ؼ programs, both clients and staff members are recovering from trauma. Understanding the significance of trauma-informed care, Telecare designs programs and services to reduce the risk of re-traumatization. The fundamental principles of a trauma-informed approach include:

Safety and Trustworthiness

Creating an environment where interpersonal interactions promote safety for both staff and the individuals they serve. Building and maintaining trust with clients, members, and their families.

Peer Support and Collaboration

Establishing hope, building trust, and enhancing collaboration through peer support and mutual self-help. Encouraging trauma survivors to use their stories and shared lived experiences to promote healing and recovery.

Empowerment and Cultural Competence

Recognizing and building on clients' strengths and experiences to foster resiliency, support shared decision-making, and cultivate self-advocacy. Ensuring access to gender-responsive services and identifying unique cultural needs.

Shifting Perspectives: From Victim Blaming to Listening and Understanding

A critical aspect of trauma-informed care is to shift the perspective from victim blaming to listening and understanding. Instead of asking, "What's wrong with you?" we should inquire, "What happened to you?" This change in approach recognizes that trauma survivors are individuals who have been injured and need support.


Both individuals and programs play a vital role in supporting trauma recovery. Here are some trauma-healing tips:

  • What Individuals Can Do:

    1. Get moving: Exercise to reset and repair the body's nervous system.

    2. Avoid isolation: Connect with others face-to-face to maintain relationships and avoid excessive time alone.

    3. Practice self-regulation: Use mindful breathing and focus on the present moment to regulate the nervous system.

    4. Take care of health: Prioritize sleep, maintain a balanced diet, and reduce stress through relaxation techniques.

  • What Programs Can Do:

    1. Review program rules: Modify potential "power thefts" and adopt power-with approaches to avoid power struggles.

    2. De-brief control situations: Reflect on instances where control was necessary and find ways to relax control in the future.

    3. Avoid unintended judgment: Instead of blaming individuals, be curious and ask, "What happened?"