Trauma-Informed Care and Practice (TICP)

  • Trauma Informed Care and Practice (TICP) is an approach which recognises and acknowledges trauma and its prevalence, alongside awareness and sensitivity to its dynamics, in all aspects of service delivery.
  • TICP is grounded in and directed by a thorough understanding of the neurological, biological, psychological and social effects of trauma and interpersonal violence and the prevalence of these experiences in persons who receive mental health services. It involves not only changing assumptions about how we organise and provide services but creates organisational cultures that are personal, holistic, creative, open and therapeutic. A trauma based approach primarily views the individual as having been harmed by something or someone.
  • TICP is a strengths-based framework that is responsive to the impact of trauma, emphasising physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both service providers and survivors; and creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.
  • TICP is a practice that can be utilised to support service providers in moving from a caretaker to a collaborator role, where services represent a 'new generation' of transformed mental health and allied human services organisations and programs which serve people with histories of violence and trauma.
  • When a human service program seeks to become trauma informed, every part of its organisation, management, and service delivery system is assessed and modified to ensure a basic understanding of how trauma impacts the life of an individual who is seeking services.

New Resource: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Facilitating Events and Consultations

MHCC has developed two easy-to-use resources to support mental health and human services ensure that any event or activity that they facilitate, such as a conference, workshop, seminar, consultation, training or meetings, follow trauma-informed principles.

The idea for the policy protocol and events checklist followed reports that some events were being conducted in the sector in a way that had not ensured safety for participants or presenters alike. This encouraged MHCC to develop some best practice for members, other organisations and individuals to draw upon.

Organisations across the mental health service system regularly facilitate events which include presentations of diverse lived experience. When consumers and carers provide input, they often discuss matters not only distressing for them but for people attending the event. There is an assumption that a seemingly innocuous subject is safe when in fact, those facilitating an event have no idea what will emerge. Safety principles are frequently only applied if subject matter is clearly identified as trauma-related. However, MHCC has come to understand through experience that safety needs to be considered in every circumstance.

Armed with clear feedback from members and the sector, together with its own observations, MHCC has developed resources to help organisations plan an event with safety in mind. Developed in cooperation with an Expert Reference Group, the Trauma-Informed Events Policy Protocol and the Events Check List provide guidance for the development of specific policies and considerations that may be required by any organisation. The aim is to embed trauma-informed and recovery-oriented principles into all activities, by implementing core values at every level of engagement with people with lived experience, carers and families, the workforce and the community.

These resources aim to promote a supportive culture that encourages collaboration and trust between the host organisation, presenters and attendees.

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Trauma is an almost universal experience of public mental health and substance abuse consumers; the need to address it has become essential for the growth and recovery of trauma survivors.

Shirley Havenga, Community Psychiatric Clinic, Seattle, 2010