What is Trauma?
Trauma is a strong, negative, emotional response to a terrible event. Commonly, people think of events like a sexual assault, serious injury or disease, violence, or abuse. However, many other experiences cause trauma.
Trauma itself is very common, with studies in the U.S. showing trauma rates at 50-60% in the general population.1
JSA is a Trauma-Informed Practice.
Trauma-informed therapy asks, “What happened to you?” rather than, “What is wrong with you?” This shifts the tone from victim-blaming to recognizing the person as a survivor. Trauma-informed therapy is not a specific modality, rather it is a set of guiding principles that recognizes that trauma can have a devastating effect on a person’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Your trauma-informed therapist at JSA will assume that you have had experiences that may have deeply affected you, and they will respond to you in a way that emphasizes safety, collaboration, and empowerment. We will carefully ask you about any trauma history and we will talk about things–and reprocessing those memories– as you are ready. We will walk beside you.
Although there is no standard definition of trauma-informed therapy and no national standards or directories, there are some basic practices that have emerged. Your JSA therapist knows them and will follow them:
Safety begins at our front door, where privacy is respected. Our offices are welcoming to all people. There is a focus at JSA on the physical and emotional safety of every client, ensuring that they have an understanding of what will happen next and they are seen and important to us.
Choice refers to the client having clear control of what happens during your therapy work. Consent is obtained by making sure our client fully understands their rights–which are outlined in the initial paperwork– and can provide continuous consent.
Collaboration happens when your therapist, rather than acting as the expert, asks the client to share power and make decisions on what treatment goals they would like to work on. They have a significant role as the expert in their care.
Trustworthiness means being honest, clear, and consistent, especially with maintaining boundaries. We will never violate your trust.
Cultural, Historical, & Gender Awareness
This integral pillar in trauma-informed care involves appreciating and acknowledging our clients cultural background, experiences, and identities. This entails looking past cultural stereotypes/biases based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, providing gender-affirming care, appreciating the healing value of traditional cultural bonds, and integrating guidelines that are sensitive to the racial, ethnic, and cultural necessities of the people being helped. Intergenerational trauma is acknowledged, named and processed.
You should always feel heard, cared for, and validated by your therapist as they focus on helping you build more coping skills and learn to regulate your emotions and feel more peace.