Talking to Someone Using a Trauma Informed Approach

Many people experience trauma at some point in their lives. But, some people who experience a traumatic event or series of events may develop a mental health condition known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorider (PTSD). Trauma-informed care is a type of trauma therapy that allows indivdiuals to explore mental health issues brought on by trauma in a safe and supportive setting. While trauma-informed care can benefit people living with PTSD, it can also benefit them if their loved ones also utilize a trauma informed approach. Being trauma informed means that you approach an individual with PTSD considering the fact that they have been impacted by trauma. So, how should you go about having conversations with a loved one whose life has been impacted by trauma? And what does using a trauma informed approach look like?

Understand the Wide Range of Trauma Experiences

There is no one type of traumatic experience that can lead to the development of PTSD. It’s helpful for the loved ones of people with PTSD to understand that trauma comes in many different forms. Knowing this can help you understand that PTSD can develop as a result of a wide range of experiences. Some examples of traumatic experiences that can lead to the development of PTSD can include:

  • abuse (sexual, physical, emotional)
  • vehicular accidents
  • natural disasters
  • giving birth
  • combat
  • victimized assault
  • the sudden death of a loved one
  • injury or illness
  • medical malpractice
  • and more

Not everyone responds to trauma in the same way. People who develop PTSD as a result of experiencing trauma may develop symptoms that include paranoia, avoidance behaviors, mood swings, and more. Knowing how trauma can affect every person differently can help loved ones understand that they may need to pinpoint how trauma specifically affects their loved one with PTSD.

What is a Trauma Informed Approach?

Using a trauma informed approach to talking with a loved one with PTSD can make all the difference. Trauma informed means that you understand that your loved one is affected by the impacts of PTSD and that you approach them with respect for their traumatic experiences. This allows for healthier conversations that don’t steer your loved one away from trusting you. And, rather, building a healthy relationship in order for them to feel comfortable and confident with sharing with you. While you may never fully understand their traumatic experiences or the impacts that trauma has on their life, a trauma informed approach allows you to work toward understanding better.

Ways You Can Use a Trauma Informed Approach in Conversations

There are a few techniques that you can utilize when speaking with a loved one who’s living with PTSD that are trauma informed. Some of these examples include:

  • Not forcing the conversation of trauma on them – allowing them to speak about it only when they want to
  • Providing a listening ear free of judgment or your own experiences
  • Providing a supportive and safe environment to feel they can open up
  • Offering your help in any way they feel they can use it
  • Recognizing and being able to identify what triggers a trauma response
  • Validating your loved one’s trauma and their feelings and thoughts associated with their traumatic experience

Seeking Out Trauma-Informed Care at Delray Center for Healing

Trauma-informed care is treatment that provides therapy and other services to people with PTSD with an understanding of how trauma can impact a person’s life. Delray Center for Healing offers outpatient services for people living with PTSD with trauma-informed approaches. Find out more about our services and programs available on our website.