Trauma Focused Treatment

Many people who enter alcohol and substance treatment have endured trauma in their past. Some experiences of emotional and/or physical pain involve an isolated event, while others occur over a period of time. Whether the trauma occurred recently or many years ago, it can have a life-changing impact on the victim. The effects of distress need to be kept in mind when designing an effective addiction treatment plan for a trauma victim. Our trauma program at Elevate Recovery Centers focuses on more than just an individual’s history of substance abuse.

The term “trauma” is used to describe a situation or experience that is distressing and emotionally painful. A traumatic experience is overwhelming for the victim and leaves them feeling unable to cope. Such distress may include sexual or physical assault, serious accidents, combat experiences, and rape. It may also encompass less-obvious experiences, such as neglect and emotional abuse. The impact of trauma is an intensely individual experience. Two individuals may react to the same traumatic event in very different ways. It also acknowledges the consequences of trauma and encourages healing.

Key Principles of Trauma Therapy

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defined six key principles that define a trauma-informed approach to treatment:

  • Safety
  • Transparency and trustworthiness
  • Peer support
  • Mutuality and collaboration
  • Voice, choice, and empowerment
  • Historical, cultural and gender issues

Trauma-informed care is based on the assumption that many individuals receiving treatment for drug and alcohol abuse have a history of trauma that may contribute to their substance abuse. A traditional treatment approach might ask a client “What’s wrong with you?” while a trauma-informed approach asks “What happened to you?”