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What is Trauma Informed Therapy?

Learn more about trauma informed therapy, including its benefits and how to get access to counseling.

Understanding Trauma

Trauma informed therapy is a modern approach to psychotherapy that considers the impact that traumatic experiences have on an individual’s well-being. It is an approach to therapy practice that helps therapists provide support and healing to clients who have encountered trauma or abuse. The goal of trauma focused psychotherapy is to support clients in recognizing their strengths and creating a safe, comfortable environment to heal from past traumas.1

Trauma is an emotional response after experiencing or witnessing an event that threatens life, safety, or physical integrity. People are usually affected by events in different ways. Some people may experience trauma symptoms immediately after a traumatic event, while others may not develop symptoms until months or years later. 2
Trauma Informed Therapy

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Causes of Trauma

Providing adequate trauma therapy involves getting to the root cause. The causes of trauma are varied, but these are some common types:
  • Childhood abuse or neglect
  • Sexual assault or rape
  • Witnessing violence (accidents, war)
  • Grief from the loss of a loved one

Symptoms of Trauma

Trauma manifests itself in different ways. The symptoms of trauma can include:
  • Depression and anxiety

  • Sexual assault or rapeHypervigilance (being constantly on guard)

  • Nightmares and flashbacks

  • Lack of trust in others

  • Dissociation

  • Frequent panic attacks

What Trauma Informed Therapy Can Help With

Trauma informed therapy aims to help people recover from negative experiences and move forward with their lives. It also aims to teach people healthy coping skills to help deal with potential causes of panic or other symptoms of trauma throughout their daily lives.

Positive Outcomes of Trauma-Informed Therapy

Trauma therapy can help in the following ways:
  • Coping Skills: People who have gone through traumatic events may have difficulty coping with their emotions and feeling safe in their environment. Trauma-informed therapists help teach patients how to cope with stress healthily to maintain emotional stability and avoid reliving the trauma in the future.
  • Self-Care: Survivors of trauma often neglect their own needs. Trauma-informed therapists will teach patients how to better care for themselves and their health. A healthy self-care routine will also help reduce anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.
  • Avoid Destructive Thoughts: Trauma therapy can benefit those who are struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts due to trauma. 

Principles of the Trauma-Informed Approach

Trauma informed therapy can benefit anyone who has experienced abuse or other forms of trauma. The following six principles guide trauma informed therapy:3

Physical and Emotional Safety

Patients should feel physically and emotionally safe during their trauma therapy sessions and should be able to trust that their therapist only has their best interests at heart.


Therapists collaborate with their clients on treatment goals during trauma counseling. This allows patients to take control of their recovery process throughout their trauma therapy journey.


Trauma counseling requires complete transparency. Patients should be transparent about their experiences to get all the help they need. They must also be open about any limitations they face during their recovery.

Peer Support

One of the essential principles of trauma counseling is peer support. Peer support means patients have a small community where they can draw inspiration. This helps them feel safe and supported by sharing their experiences with similar challenges or concerns.

Cultural, Historical, and Gender Awareness

All individuals have a unique history, culture, and gender identity. Therefore, a trauma-informed approach requires that we be aware of these differences when working with each individual.

Humility and Responsiveness

Trauma-informed systems are humble about their capacity to understand the impact of trauma and are responsive to the needs of those who have been traumatized. They seek input from community members, survivors, and trauma experts when developing policies, practices, or services.

Benefits of Trauma-Focused Therapy

Trauma-informed psychotherapy offers a variety of benefits for people who have experienced trauma. These include:4
  • Learning about trauma

  • Re-establishing safety

  • Identifying causes or risks

  • Developing healthy coping skills

  • Decreasing in traumatic stress symptoms

  • Practicing trauma processing or integration

Key Ingredients of Trauma-Informed Organizational Practices

Trauma-informed organizational practices are vital to improving the mental health and well-being of individuals affected by trauma. A trauma informed care model is based on the knowledge that trauma affects how people think, feel, and behave. It also recognizes that trauma is complex, impacts all areas of life, and can be caused at almost any time, due to the varying symptoms that people may have related to their trauma.5

The goal of trauma informed care is to create an environment where patients feel safe, supported, and able to access their strengths to thrive.

How to Accomplish a Trauma-Informed Therapeutic Environment

The following vital ingredients can help organizations become more trauma-informed:
  • Leading and communicating about the transformation process
  • Engaging patients in organizational planning
  • Training clinical as well as non-clinical staff members
  • Creating a safe environment
  • Preventing secondary traumatic stress in staff
These goals may be integrated into each approach differently, but it’s important each of them are met in some way.

How to Know if a Therapist is Trauma-Informed

Trauma-informed therapists are an essential part of your recovery. They use trauma informed counseling techniques that can help you better understand the symptoms you are experiencing and guide you in understanding what could be causing them.
Trauma-informed therapists understand and respect the effects of trauma on people’s lives. By using these trauma informed practices, they are able to recognize that healing from trauma is a long process that does not happen overnight. These therapists are committed to the idea that therapy is about helping you heal from your trauma, not just managing your symptoms. They also actively follow the trauma informed approach.

Role and Responsibilities of a Trauma-Informed Therapist

A trauma-informed therapist should:
  • Use active listening skills, such as paraphrasing and clarifying.
  • Encourage you to set goals for therapy that are within your control, such as improving your relationship with a family member or learning to manage stress.
  • Ask questions instead of making assumptions about what happened to you or why you have certain emotions or behaviors.
  • Help you find ways to build trust in yourself and others, even if it takes time, instead of focusing solely on problem-solving at first.
Generally, if you’re looking for a trauma-informed therapist, pick someone trained in trauma-informed care. Trauma-informed care also finds importance in the recovery from other mental health conditions.
Trauma Informed Therapy

Get Trauma Informed Care at Ripple Ranch Recovery

Ripple Ranch Recovery is dedicated to providing a trauma-informed approach to recovery. We believe a safe, loving environment is key to healing and growth. Therefore, we are committed to supporting our clients with trauma informed practices as they work through their trauma. We also want to empower them with adequate trauma therapy tools and strategies so they can live fulfilling lives without worrying about encountering too many risks or causes in daily life.

We offer several different treatment options using a trauma informed approach. We are a family of care providers committed to our effective, one-stop services promoting long-term recovery and wellness. Our supportive staff is here to help you every step of the way and create a specific treatment plan for you or your loved one’s needs.

Reach Out and Begin Healing

For more informed therapy and trauma focused care, please reach out to Ripple Ranch Recovery and we can start trauma-informed care as soon as possible.