What is trauma-informed?
When I reflect on what it means to be trauma-informed I think about things like decency, humanity, compassion, wisdom, respect, and allowing. At its core, it is about being a decent human being and allowing others to be who and as they are. It’s about taking personal responsibility to know and do better every chance we get.
Trauma-informed as a practice means to know and understand the intricacies and complexities of trauma on a physical, mental, emotional, and energetic level. It means to understand the ways in which trauma can become stored in the body and how it can then manifest itself over time. It’s about constantly learning ways to hold space for survivors of trauma and how to help support them on their road back to themselves. It is about walking alongside and remembering that each survivor knows best and we are here as support. Being trauma-informed isn’t just being a good listener or empathetic - it’s about taking the time to educate yourself and continue to learn the ever-changing landscape of trauma. It is about truly putting your own agenda, thoughts, and ego to the side and powerfully showing up for the person in front of you.
Above all, being trauma-informed is knowing and wholeheartedly believing that no one is broken or damaged. No one is beyond help. We hold hope as a possibility, as a beacon of light, for those who may feel lost or overwhelmed because we know there is always room for evolution, transformation, and growth.
How Becoming Trauma-Informed Transformed My Life
I first came across the idea of trauma-informed practices when the book “The Body Keeps the Score” serendipitously landed in my lap. I couldn’t put this book down, it was speaking to my soul and speaking a language I had been desperately yearning for. It then led me to various trauma-informed trainings, books, and eventually brought me back to uni to study psychology. I had been in a lot of unsafe spaces, yoga classes and women’s circle included, and seen and experienced a lot of highly triggering and potentially retraumatizing situations unfold. I knew there was more to it, I knew in my bones there were ways to offer and facilitate deeply transformational workshops, classes, and spaces without doing (hopefully unintentional) harm. I had heard so many teachers sort of celebrate when a student cried in their class, claiming they “helped them find an emotional release”. To me, this is super unsafe, unethical, and just wrong. We are no one’s saviour; we are not here to fix, heal, or save anyone else. So I dove deep into trauma-informed practices and how it is that I could get clear on my own trauma history and hold safe space for myself while then holding others in a safe space for them to explore their own experience, reclaim their own inner healer, and take back control of their own lives. Trauma-informed practices have changed the way I deliver workshops, retreats, and trainings, it’s changed how I facilitate general classes and conduct my nutrition consultations. It’s transformed the way I interact with my family, friends, and colleagues. These tools have quite literally changed my life on every level and given me such a profound and deep understanding and compassion for myself and those I interact with.
Why Understanding Trauma is so important in today's world?
Understanding trauma is integral in being human. When we think about everything that has happened and continues to happen in our local and global world, we realize how common various types of trauma are and how everyone has either experienced trauma directly or vicariously by knowing someone who has experienced something deeply distressing, stressful, or traumatizing - even watching the news these days can be traumatic. It’s in this knowing of how common it is that we see the absolute necessity of understanding what trauma is, how it impacts people differently, and how we can compassionately and empathetically show up in solidarity and support of each person in their human experience. It’s here that we learn the tools to appropriately and effectively hold space, to create a little more safety for ourselves and others, and to think in a more forward and solution-based way. A forward, solution-based approach is holding hope and wonder even within the spaces of darkness and uncertainty, it’s about giving people back their power and helping them to reconnect with their innate intelligence and inner healer.
Understanding trauma means to be human, to acknowledge that bad things happen, and to hold hope in the centre of every interaction.
Discover this work
If you are interested in exploring trauma-informed work more, SomaPsych has an online training; 20HR Understanding Trauma for Safer Spaces. This training is more than an education, it is a transformational learning experience. It is a training that offers you immediate tools, methods and interventions in order to instantaneously cultivate a more trauma-informed approach in your current studio, classes, business, organization, and offerings. A holistic approach to discovering the connections between empowerment and resilience with personal exploration, invitational language, safe space creation, supportive solutions, and facilitating choice making. Join us to begin the shift from simply offering practices to embodying your special role as a facilitator of restoration, wellness and community building by offering trauma-informed practices to all humans in diverse communities.