What is psychological trauma and why does it matter? 

Trauma is often defined as “an event, a series of events or a set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening”. This could be a single incident such as rape, suicide and sudden bereavement or a serious accident, or complex trauma that takes place over a prolonged period of time, such as child abuse, neglect, human trafficking or different forms of gender-based violence, including domestic abuse. As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware that living through traumatic events is more common than previously realised. Many people will have existing support in place through family, friends and their community to help their resilience and help them recover from the impact of traumatic events or even experience positive growth. But we also know, from listening to the experiences of those who have lived through trauma, as well as from the findings of scientific research, that traumatic life experiences can have a significant impact on people’s lives, increasing the risk of poorer outcomes across health, social, educational and criminal justice outcomes. We also know that trauma can affect people at any stage in their lives and that particular sections of the population (e.g., children) are more vulnerable to trauma. And we know that the risks of poorer outcomes are compounded by the difficulties which people who are affected by trauma can have in accessing and using services. The evidence is building that trauma increases the risk of additional needs and complexity but also trauma-related impacts such as difficulties with trust, which can increase the barriers to accessing the services and support that could best help people. There is growing evidence that trauma-informed systems and practice, where the impact of trauma on those affected is understood by staff, and systems are adapted accordingly, can reduce barriers to engagement and result in better outcomes for people affected by trauma. Credit: Information Services

How can I become Trauma Informed?

Everyone should watch the ‘Opening Doors’ and ‘Sowing Seeds’ videos (go to the Online Training section of the website). There are also four Trauma Skilled modules on Turas, which all staff working with children and families should complete. 

There is further in-person training to help you develop your knowledge and skills. Please speak to your manager or contact our Trauma Training Co-ordinator clare.williams@argyll-bute.gov.uk so we can assess your needs level. 

We also promote lots of Trauma-Informed adjacent training, such as Each and Every Child’s Framing Sessions or PACE training. Information about these can be found in the Training calendar.

What level of training do I need? 

The content below describes who might fit into which level. However, some job roles may not fit exactly into one category. Please speak to your manager about which level of training would be most suitable, or contact clare.williams@argyll-bute.gov.uk to discuss training needs. 

Trauma informed practice - All workers. 

Examples include shop workers, taxi drivers, recreation workers and office workers.

Trauma skilled practice - Workers who are likely to be coming into contact with people who may have been affected by trauma. 

Examples could include some lawyers, GPs, teachers, support for learning staff, police officers, nursery staff, sports club coaches, receptionists, dentists, judges, A&E workers, lecturers, housing workers, care workers, service managers, youth development workers, health visitors and counsellors.

Trauma enhanced practice - Workers who have a specific remit to respond to people known to be affected by trauma 
are required to provide advocacy support or interventions 
are required to adopt the way they work to take into account trauma reactions to do their job well and reduce risk or re-traumatisation 
are required to manage these services. 

Examples could include some lawyers, mental health nurses and workers, specialist domestic abuse support and advocacy workers, educational support teachers, some specialist police officers, some psychiatrists, forensic medical examiners, social workers, prison staff, secure unit workers, drug and alcohol workers, and specialist counsellors.  

Trauma specialist practice - Workers who have a specific remit to provide specialist interventions or therapies for people known to be affected by trauma with complex needs.

Examples could include social workers with specialist roles/training, major incident workers, some psychiatrists, managers of highly specialist services, psychologists and other therapists.

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