As a society we are becoming increasingly aware of the prevalence of trauma and its devastating impacts. But many people feel poorly equipped to have conversations with people they know or suspect have experienced trauma. This includes service-providers, including health services. It is as relevant for services which don’t provide clinical treatment,but which engage with people, many of who have a lived experience of trauma, as it is for clinical services.
Knowing how to ‘talk about trauma’ is essential to supporting traumatised people. It is also critical to establishing service systems which are ‘trauma-informed’. Research shows that positive relational experiences assist trauma recovery while negative social interactions impede it. Such interactions occur within diverse services, which can play a major role in providing support for recovery from trauma. Every type of service needs to know how to ‘talk about trauma’.
It is not difficult to acquire the necessary knowledge for ‘talking about trauma’. No clinical training or specialist skills are needed. It requires a basic foundation of information about trauma. When put into practice, this knowledge reduces the likelihood of stressful interactions and helps minimise the effects of prior traumas. Relating to one another in a trauma-informed way ‘does no harm’ and focusses on the way in which we treat each other as human beings. Services of all kinds can play a critical role in this regard.
This guide is the second in a series on the topic of Talking about Trauma (the first is addressed to the general public). It is intended to build the knowledge and skills of everyone in our community. Whether in a personal or professional capacity, we all need to engage in conversations about trauma.
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