What is trauma informed care?

Trauma informed care was developed in response to the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) research in order to provide a more systematic approach, understanding and effective support for children and adults without adding to the trauma they have already experienced.  It doesn’t require specialist psychotherapy training but rather enables all staff to play a part in creating a healing environment.

This is essential as early experiences of trauma can affect physical and mental health across the lifespan and, in some cases, result in social exclusion and reduced life expectancy.

A trauma informed approach is based on clear and simple principles that promote organisational culture change and create an environment where children and adults can experience the safety they need to build resilience and lead healthy and positive lives.  

One central principle is to change the initial question from ‘What’s wrong with you?’ to ‘What’s happened to you?’.  Other key points are the need to provide an environment where all staff, (including reception staff and cleaners), as well as volunteers, have undergone the same basic training on trauma informed values and are able to greet people with respect, acknowledge their experiences and, where appropriate, offer choice and meaningful involvement.

The final pillar of trauma informed care is the provision of staff support and the opportunity for reflective practice in order to protect and enhance their own resilience in the face of the challenges, distress and often difficult behaviour that can result from a trauma history.     

For more insight into trauma informed care please visit our Resources page, and for advice on how to use a trauma informed approach in your own organisation, please contact us.


Adverse Childhood Experiences are the missing piece in what causes so much of our unspoken suffering as human beings
— Vincent Felitti