What are the 5 Principles of Trauma-Informed Care?

Medically reviewed by: Shane Trujillo, EdM
Monday, June 5 2023

Living with trauma can be a difficult experience and leave lasting effects. You may feel alone and like no one understands what you’ve been through. Rest assured, you’re not alone — support is available and healing is possible. 

Healing is a long road that looks different for everyone, but there is hope: through trauma-informed care, you can gain an understanding of your own unique needs and begin to take steps towards recovery. Here, we'll explore trauma-informed care, the principles that drive it, and how it can help you heal. 

What is trauma-informed care?

Trauma-informed care is a framework therapists and other health care professionals use when working with people who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or have experienced trauma in their lives. 

Trauma is an experience or event that is deeply distressing and disturbing. It usually involves an overwhelming sense of fear, helplessness, or vulnerability in response to a threat or situation that is too big to handle. This can range from childhood abuse to military combat, and everything in between. The purpose of trauma-informed care is to create a safe and supportive environment so you can work through your traumatic experiences and begin to heal.

What are the 5 principles of trauma informed-care?

Trauma-informed care is made up of five key principles to help ensure those being treated for trauma are in the best environment for healing. These include: 

1. Safety

A therapist trained in trauma-informed care will create a physically and emotionally safe environment for you. This often looks like a well-lit, private, comfortable space that is free of triggers that may cause you distress.

2. Trustworthiness

Building trust is crucial in trauma-informed care. That’s why your therapist will be consistent, honest, and reliable throughout your therapy journey, so you always feel a sense of safety and security. 

3. Choice

With trauma-informed care, you play a key role in your treatment — working with your therapist to make choices about your care. This helps you feel empowered and ensures your voice is being heard throughout your therapy journey. What’s more? Studies have shown that participating in your own care means you’re more likely to keep appointments, stick with therapy, and see better results overall. 

4. Collaboration

Trauma-informed care is a team effort. Not only will you work with your therapist to create a treatment plan that works for your unique needs, you may also have the opportunity to provide feedback to your therapist about how you think therapy is going, whether you feel treatment is working, and how you’re feeling overall. This is true when trauma-informed care is provided under a feedback-informed care model

Feedback-informed care is an evidence-based approach to mental health care that uses your feedback to help guide treatment throughout therapy. At SonderMind, we regularly gather your feedback through clinical questionnaires (CQs). CQs have you answer questions about your mental well-being before and after sessions. You can fill CQs out right within your SonderMind portal, so it’s easy to share your feedback with your therapist.

5. Empowerment

You’ll hear the term “empower” a lot when learning about and participating in trauma-informed care. That’s because empowerment is a key driver of successful therapy for those who have experienced trauma. With support from your therapist and loved ones, trauma-informed care aims to help you build coping mechanisms so you can take steps towards healing and improving your well-being. Overall, feeling empowered throughout therapy can help you reach your goals sooner and ultimately achieve what you want out of therapy. 

How can trauma-informed care help in the treatment of PTSD and other mental health conditions? 

If you’re experiencing symptoms of PTSDanxiety, or depression due to trauma, know that you’re not alone and you can get better. Getting help from a mental health professional trained in trauma-informed care can make all the difference in helping you get to a healthier place.  

Studies have found that those who received trauma-informed care experience less PTSD symptoms, depression, and anxiety. The studies also found that trauma-informed care helped to improve their quality of life and increased their sense of control over their lives. 

If you think you could benefit from seeking professional help from someone trained in trauma-informed care, SonderMind can help. Let us know a little more about yourself and what you’re looking for, and we’ll connect you with a licensed therapist who specializes in trauma-informed care and can help you start your healing journey.

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