I just wanted to share something I learned at work that has really changed the way I look at people I meet everyday.
Sometimes, we fall into the trap of blaming people for their struggles.
We treat them as if they are the problem rather than that they have a problem. You never want to excuse destructive or damaging behaviors. However, it's difficult to help someone change their behaviors if you don't address the core issues.
The path to recovery can start with something as simple as asking "What happened to you?" rather than "What's wrong with you?"
This is one of the central ideas behind "trauma-informed care," which is a practice that we have fully embraced in the care of those we serve
at Family Services.
Trauma-informed care is a good practice for all of us to use in our community. It focuses on what has caused someone's behavior rather than only on the symptoms of that behavior. This allows us to more effectively treat the root of the problem.
Think back to your childhood bully: roaming the hallways of your elementary school, picking on you and your best friend. You probably asked yourself "What's wrong with them?" That question implies that part of their person is permanently wrong or broken.
Instead, consider what might have happened in their life that led them to act this way. What is at the heart of why your bully acted out? We can have a true long-term impact when we treat the trauma at the heart of the issue.
It's vital for everyone in our community to understand the impact of trauma on neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, and even ourselves. Being "trauma-informed” makes us more compassionate and
understanding of our differences and struggles.
As you gather with friends and family on these sunny weekends, please keep trauma-informed care in mind. Even those you know well and love may have suffered in secret. You can be a kind heart and listening ear.