What Does it Mean to be Trauma-Informed?

SAFETY: When an organization is trauma-informed, creating a sense of safety for ALL (people served, staff, and stakeholders) is ESSENTIAL.

To reiterate, the purpose of this module is to develop a trauma-informed lens and to expand our philosophy to include healing-centered connections. Trauma-informed care involves both honouring and standing up for human rights and social change.

The goals of a trauma-informed approach include:

  • Preventing traumatizing events from happening in the first place
  • Preventing situations that can retraumatization people who are already dealing with trauma
  • Creating new practices that create healing ecologies, and build on people’s already existing strength and resilience

When an organization is trauma-informed it means that all staff and volunteers understand the pervasiveness of trauma, and intentionally create safety for all.

In a post-secondary institution, this includes administrators, professors, teaching assistants, volunteers, service staff, and leadership. Working under the umbrella of peer support/student services means that you must understand what it means to support people with a trauma-informed lens. Being trauma-informed means not only having a trauma-informed approach with those we serve, but also with and among all team members.

When we are trauma-informed, we move away from a worldview that asks, “What’s wrong with you?” to one that instead asks, “What happened to you?”

What are some ideas that a team, such as your peer support team, can do to deal with collective stress, so that you can be present with people? (Examples: open communication, regular meetings, laughter, connection…)


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Post-Secondary Peer Support Training Curriculum Copyright © 2022 by Jenn Cusick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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