Our Trauma Informed Care Vision
Hillsides and its affiliate Bienvenidos promote a client-driven, strengths-based organization of excellence that embraces communities using Trauma Informed Care (TIC) principles and builds trusting, collaborative relationships. We have been designated a Trauma Informed Care Agency by the National Council for Behavioral Health. We maintain a TIC committee to focus on policies, procedures and training through the lens of trauma and we provide staff with TIC training. Stacey Roth, our executive vice president and chief operating officer, serves as the vice chair of the steering committee for the Trauma Informed Care Task Force of Greater Los Angeles.
What is Trauma Informed Care?
Trauma Informed Care recognizes the widespread impact of trauma, integrates knowledge of trauma into treatment, and promotes the healing of families, children and communities.
What is trauma?
Trauma refers to intense and overwhelming experiences that involve serious loss, threat or harm to a person’s physical, psychological and/or emotional well-being. These experiences may occur at any time in a person’s life or may be repeated over many years. These traumatic experiences often overwhelm the person’s coping resources and often lead the person to find a way of coping that may work in the short term but may cause serious harm in the long term.
Examples of these traumatic experiences in childhood or adulthood are
- Physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse
- Neglect or abandonment (food insufficiency, lack of money to meet basic needs, homelessness)
- Death of a parent
- Family life that incudes drug addition, alcoholism, parent incarceration, violence
- Serious medical illness or disease (disabling conditions, loss of function, invasive and distressing procedures)
- War, combat and civil unrest conditions including torture affecting soldiers and refugee civilians
- Catastrophic losses of one’s home, livelihood, people, pets due to flood, tornado, hurricane or other disasters of nature
- Involved in or witnessing horrific events involving violence, gruesome accidents or death/serious injury
The largest study conducted over 10 years involving 17,000 people looked at effects of adverse childhood experiences (trauma) over the lifespan. Based on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, these experiences raise the individual’s risk for severe emotional distress, suicide, physical illness, substance abuse and a host of other life difficulties. To provide effective services we need to understand the life situations that may be contributing to the person’s current problems. It is imperative to understand “what happened to you” versus “what is wrong with you?”
Did you know...
- 1 in 6 men have experienced emotional trauma?
- 80% of people in psychiatric hospitals have experienced physical or sexual abuse?
- 66% of people in substance abuse treatment report childhood abuse or neglect?
- 90% of women with alcoholism were sexually abused or suffered severe violence from parents?
- 92% of incarcerated girls report sexual, physical or severe emotional abuse?
- Boys who experience or witness violence are 1,000 times more likely to commit violence than those who do not?
- As many as one third of women and 14% of men are survivors of childhood sexual abuse?
Our goals in being a TIC organization
- Training all staff on how people can make a difference by their behaviors and how we treat each other. We are promoting staff self-care and a recognition that staff also have been exposed to traumatic life experiences. We want an environment where everyone feels safe, and our community understands the importance of looking through a “Trauma-Informed Lens.”
- Making certain that we are person-centered, client-driven and provide opportunities for those we serve to participate in our planning process for implementation of trauma-informed practices.
- Implementing comprehensive screening and assessments to address traumatic experiences.
- Working to provide trauma-specific and trauma-focused evidence-based best practices using psycho-educational groups, trauma focused therapies as well as using established practices that support this work, such as Motivational Interviewing or Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for healing trauma.
- Developing quality insurance that the work we are doing is making a difference. We want to be a transparent system that allows for feedback from clients, staff and the community in order to increase buy-in and to improve our services.
- Collaborating with our community partners to make certain they also understand the importance of the impact of trauma and are providing trauma-informed approaches in order that those we serve are not re-traumatized within the community.
The benefits of TIC for our community
- Increases safety for clients and staff
- Prevents vicarious trauma and burnout for staff
- Increases success, satisfaction, and morale at work
- Creates a community of hope and health
- Increases the quality of services
- Reduces negative encounters and events
- Avoids re-traumatizing clients
- Improves success rates of clients
- Decreases length of stay in treatment
- Effective services that feel manageable to clients