Why Trauma-Informed Treatment is The Best Kind of Therapy (Even if You Don’t Think You Have Trauma)

Support group, therapy and help from business woman, counselor or therapist coach in counseling

Trauma-informed treatment is a practice that encourages and promotes a culture of safety, healing, and empowerment to those receiving treatment for emotional issues, such as depression or anxiety.

A trauma-informed approach can also be practised in other sectors, including healthcare, prisons, institutions, and corporate organisations.

Trauma-informed treatment offers a comprehensive, compassionate, and holistic approach to addiction and mental health recovery that can benefit individuals by addressing a wide range of emotional and psychological needs, even if a person does not initially identify as having a history of trauma. 

For example, it can provide valuable tools and insights for acceptance, personal growth, and resilience, meaning that even individuals who do not think they have any trauma to unpack or work through can still benefit from trauma-informed treatment.

This article explores trauma-informed treatment, providing insights into the various benefits and why it is the best kind of therapy, even if you do not identify as having trauma.

If you are worried that you (or a loved one) may be experiencing trauma symptoms or struggling to accept your past, you should consult a mental health professional who can help.

Various trauma treatments are available that can help you manage your symptoms and process any painful feelings or emotions that may be holding you back.

You do not need to suffer in silence; support and help are just a phone call away.

Contact a friendly specialist at Centres for Health and Healing to learn more about our trauma-informed treatment program and kickstart your journey toward lasting transformation and recovery.

What is trauma?

Various definitions of trauma exist, and each person conceptualises and processes traumatic experiences differently.

Trauma can mean different things to different people; what one person deems traumatic, another may not.

For example, two people can experience the same event, with one person not encountering any adverse effects, while the other is plagued with trauma symptoms (such as nightmares, hypervigilance, avoidance behaviours, or flashbacks) that impair their ability to function or resume ordinary life.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), trauma is defined as:

“A psychological, physical, or emotional response to an event or situation that is overwhelming and causes feelings of helplessness, fear, or terror.” (What is the DSM 5 definition of trauma? Mind Psychiatrist, Iva Pritchett, 18 February, 2023.)

Gabor Mate, renowned addiction and trauma specialist, defines trauma as “not just what happened to us, but also what didn’t happen and should have.

Many trauma specialists believe a lack of early attachment or attunement between caregiver and infant can profoundly affect individuals in later life. 

This explains Mate’s “what didn’t happen and should have” trauma paradigm.

What types of events can cause someone to experience trauma?

Various events can trigger someone to experience trauma symptoms, which may develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if left unprocessed or untreated.

These events include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Directly experiencing or witnessing a physical or sexual assault
  • Exposure to domestic violence
  • Working in the military or another stressful job, such as a first responder or paramedic
  • Childhood abuse or neglect
  • The sudden loss of a loved one
  • Having a relative or close loved one sent to jail or prison
  • Losing a parent due to separation, divorce, or death
  • Having a family member or close friend with an addiction, such as drug or alcohol dependency
  • Witnessing a loved one struggle with a mental or physical illness
Man clenching fist in anger with crying woman in background

For individuals seeking therapy for emotional issues, trauma-informed treatment may not always feel like the right path to explore since many either do not know enough about trauma and how it manifests or cannot connect their current issues with their past experiences. 

Moreover, others may feel that they haven’t encountered much trauma in their lives, so they cannot see the benefits of trying trauma-informed treatment.

However, this treatment has countless benefits; some may even say that trauma-informed therapy is the best kind, even for those who do not think they have trauma.

Let’s explore why!

Why trauma-informed treatment is the best kind of therapy, even if you don’t think you have trauma

According to various studies, trauma-informed treatment is often considered beneficial, even for people who may not initially think they have experienced significant trauma. 

Since the effects of trauma can often be subtle, many people may put their mental health challenges down to something else, such as work stress or relationship problems.

While this may be true for some, trauma is often considered a silent epidemic, with many experts believing that trauma is at the heart of most mental health issues people experience today.

Because of a lack of awareness, many individuals with trauma remain undiagnosed while continuing to experience emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse – without fully understanding the root cause(s).

So, to achieve the best treatment outcomes possible, it’s crucial that those seeking therapy for emotional problems, such as a personality disorder or substance addiction, are recommended trauma-informed treatment as part of their recovery program, even if trauma is not initially recognised as part of a person’s history.

There are many reasons why trauma-informed treatment is the best kind of therapy a person can have, including the following:

1. Trauma-informed treatment offers a holistic approach to recovery

Trauma-informed treatment adopts a holistic approach to mental health recovery. 

It considers an individual’s trauma history and the impact of chronic stress, adverse childhood experiences, and societal factors that may contribute to a person’s emotional distress.

Trauma-informed therapy treats the ‘whole’ person, not just their symptoms, helping the individual get to the root cause of their issues instead of just treating their symptoms or behaviours, which only resolves part of the problem.

A trauma-informed approach to mental health treatment is proven the most effective, and studies have shown that it produces the best treatment outcomes for individuals in recovery, minimising the risk of future relapse.

2. It provides psychoeducation and a comprehensive understanding of trauma’s pervasive effects

CFHH Mood Disorder Trauma

Trauma-informed treatment goes beyond addressing traumatic events. 

Psychoeducation, an essential aspect of trauma-informed care, teaches individuals that trauma can be subtle and doesn’t always manifest in the way we expect and that these experiences can still profoundly impact a person.

For example, an individual may have experienced relational ruptures in childhood, such as a lack of parental attachment, neglect, or emotional abuse that may have a lasting impact on their physical and mental health.

Trauma-informed treatment recognises and teaches that not all trauma is explicit and can manifest in various ways and contexts, helping people to better understand trauma’s pervasive effects on individuals, families, and communities.

3. Trauma-informed treatment prioritises trust and safety

No matter your reasons for entering therapy, everyone deserves to feel safe and supported by their therapist.

However, unfortunately, this does not always happen, and according to the literature, many people have reported experiences where they did not feel heard, respected, or validated by a therapist or mental health clinician.

A non-trauma-informed approach can create profound ruptures within the therapeutic alliance, leading to mistrust, communication issues, delayed recovery, and re-traumatisation for the client.

Trauma-informed treatment prioritises creating a solid foundation of safety and trust in the therapeutic environment.

This can benefit anyone seeking therapy as it fosters a supportive space where individuals feel safe and comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.

4. It understands triggers 

Whether someone identifies as having experienced trauma or not, the individual may still have triggers or unresolved emotions that arise during therapy.

Trauma-informed clinicians are trained to help individuals explore their triggers and any underlying causes.

When therapists are sensitive to an individual’s triggers, they create an environment of trust and awareness and prevent the person from experiencing further distress or re-traumatisation.

5. Trauma-informed treatment encourages resilience and healthy coping skills

Young woman in therapy

One of the benefits of trauma-informed treatment is that it equips people with valuable coping skills and resilience-building strategies that can help anyone dealing with emotional difficulties, unexpected crises, or chronic stress.

Because trauma-informed therapy is nervous-system informed, it recognises the detrimental impact that chronic stress can have on an individual’s nervous system.

Trauma-informed therapists, therefore, seek to soothe a client’s distress, helping individuals to regulate their nervous system through specific exercises such as deep breathing and grounding techniques.

Whether a person identifies as having experienced trauma or not, this approach can help them manage stress, build resilience and practise healthy coping skills, allowing them to handle any unforeseen challenges that may crop up in the future.

6. It provides empowerment

Trauma-informed treatment empowers individuals to understand themselves better and their emotional (and sometimes physical) responses to stress or adversity.

This approach can fuel personal growth, resilience, and self-awareness, regardless of whether or not the person experienced explicit trauma.

Trauma-informed therapy upholds the fundamental principle that everyone, regardless of background, socioeconomic status, or location, deserves compassion, understanding, and validation. 

This leads to a more empathetic, empowered society and a better chance of lasting recovery for those in treatment.

The bottom line

Group of people during the psychological therapy indoors

Trauma-informed treatment is considered advantageous, even for those who may not have experienced trauma or aren’t displaying typical trauma symptoms

A trauma-informed approach understands the importance of physical and emotional safety in the therapeutic environment and beyond.

Moreover, it emphasises the value of collaboration between client and therapist, including transparency and competence for all people entering mental health treatment, regardless of the experiences or issues that may have brought them to therapy.

Inclusivity is at the core of trauma-informed treatment, giving every individual, community, and culture the right to access trauma resources and treatment that heal, empower, restore wellness and support recovery, making it the best kind of therapy a person can have.

Trauma-informed treatment at Centres for Health and Healing

Centres for Health and Healing provide personalised addiction and mental health treatment to clients in Ontario and surrounding regions.

Our multidisciplinary team adopts a trauma-informed approach to addiction and mental health recovery, diagnosing and treating the ‘whole’ person, not just their symptoms.

We provide comprehensive, trauma-informed treatment programs customised to each individual’s needs, goals, and preferences.

Our approach of combining psychiatric evaluation, intensive therapy, medical management, healthy eating, exercise options, and complementary therapies fosters deep transformational healing and long-term, sustainable recovery.

Our complementary therapies, designed to support trauma treatment, include grief and loss group therapy, coping skills therapy, artwork therapy, and relationship therapy.

Contact our friendly team at our Ontario treatment centre to learn more about our trauma-informed treatment program.

We are here and ready to help you take the next step toward acceptance, resilience, transformation, and lasting recovery.

Additional resources

  1. What is the DSM 5 definition of trauma? Mind Psychiatrist, Iva Pritchett, 18 February, 2023.
  2. What Is Trauma-Informed Therapy? Verywell Mind, Amy Marschall, PsyD, 23 November, 2021.
  3. Do You Need Trauma Therapy? Five Signs You May Have PTSD, Centres for Health and Healing, Lisa Davies, 19 August, 2022.
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