Relationships; A Cornerstone To Trauma Informed Practices

Team TICS
September 7, 2023

Trauma is a pervasive and complex issue that affects millions of individuals worldwide (Magruder et al., 2017). It can leave deep emotional scars that impact every aspect of a person's life. Trauma can be the result of various experiences, including physical or emotional abuse, accidents, natural disasters, or even the loss of a loved one (Kleber, 2019). It often leaves survivors feeling isolated, overwhelmed, and disconnected from themselves and the world around them. The journey towards healing begins by recognising that trauma is not just a singular event but a complex process that affects the mind, body, and spirit. However, one of the most transformative aspects of healing from trauma is the importance of relationships and connections with others (Nicholson et al., 2023).

One of the cornerstones of a trauma-informed approach is understanding the profound impact that relationships and connections have on healing (Cherry, 2021). Human beings are inherently social creatures, and our well-being is intricately tied to the quality of our relationships. For those who have experienced trauma, safe and supportive connections can be a lifeline on the path to recovery (Young et al., 2023).

Meaningful relationships play a pivotal role in supporting individuals facing challenges. These connections provide a crucial source of emotional support, understanding, and validation, which can alleviate feelings of isolation and despair (Bartlett & Steber, 2019). When we have supportive relationships, we often experience reduced stress levels, increased self-esteem, and a greater sense of purpose. Trusted friends, family members, or partners can also encourage treatment adherence and provide a safety net during difficult times (Mersky, et al.,2019). Furthermore, the presence of meaningful relationships fosters a sense of belonging, reminding individuals that they are not defined by their mental health condition and that they are valued for who they are. These relationships offer empathy and encouragement, helping individuals navigate the complexities of their journey with resilience and hope.

We can help by:

  1. Establishing trust through creating a safe space: Trust is critical as those with a history of trauma may have experienced broken trust. A safe space helps to establish trust and an opportunity to open up.
  2. Empathy and validation: These are powerful tools in aiding connections that are meaningful. When we feel heard, understood, and believed, it validates their experiences and helps them regain a sense of agency and control. Professionals and loved ones alike can provide this crucial support by being present, compassionate listeners.
  3. Supporting with belonging: professional relationships, peer support and community connections play a vital role in the healing journey. Sharing experiences with others who have faced similar challenges can reduce feelings of isolation and provide a sense of belonging. Support groups and community resources can be invaluable in this regard.

There is so much that we can do just by being a human and caring out loud. Our compassion recognises that our paths are so much meaningful when we share them with others. The importance of relationships and connections with others cannot be overstated in this context. Whether through professional support, the embrace of a loving family, or the camaraderie of a supportive community, connections offer hope, validation, and the strength needed to overcome the scars of trauma. By understanding the power of these connections, we can create a more compassionate and empathetic society where everyone can find the support and healing they deserve.

Reference

Bartlett, J. D., & Steber, K. (2019). How to implement trauma-informed care to build resilience to childhood trauma. trauma9(10).

Cherry, L. (2021). Conversations that Make a Difference to Children and Young People; Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline. Routledge.

Kleber, R. J. (2019). Trauma and public mental health: A focused review. Frontiers in psychiatry10, 451.

Magruder, K. M., McLaughlin, K. A., & Elmore Borbon, D. L. (2017). Trauma is a public health issue. European journal of psychotraumatology8(1), 1375338. https://doi.org/10.1080/20008198.2017.1375338

Nicholson, J., Perez, L., Kurtz, J., Bryant, S., & Giles, D. (2023). Trauma-Informed Practices for Early Childhood Educators: Relationship-Based Approaches that Reduce Stress, Build Resilience and Support Healing in Young Children. Routledge.

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