Trauma Informed Care

What is trauma and why is it important to understand?

 Trauma is not just “an event that took place in the past.” It is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body. Trauma changes not only how we think and what we think about, but also our capacity to think.

 Most people relate trauma (and specifically Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to being in a war. While about a quarter of the soldiers who serve in war zones are expected to develop post-traumatic problems, the majority of Americans experiences a violent crime at some time in their lives. For example, 12 million women in the United States have been victims of rape. More than half of all rapes occur in children below age 15. For many people, war begins at home: each year, about three million children in the United States are reported as victims of child abuse and neglect. For every soldier who serves in a war zone abroad, there are ten children who are endangered in their own homes. And it is very difficult for growing children to recover when the source of terror and pain is not enemy combatants but their own caretakers.

Trauma is much more than a story about something that happened long ago. The emotions and physical sensations that occurred during the trauma are experienced not only as memories but as disruptive reactions in the present.


“Children who are deprived of emotional or physical safety don’t respond by disliking their caregivers. They respond by disliking themselves. This is why self-love can feel so impossible in adulthood.”

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

The Body Keeps the Score

Resources for parents, caregivers, professionals, & more:

Understanding Child Trauma: Infographic from National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative

Childhood Trauma: Learn Everyday Gestures that Can Help Children Heal

Report Child Abuse:

 Child Protective Services  (540) 245-5800 ext. 6

                 In-State Hotline  (800) 552-7096

                 Out-of-State Hotline    (804) 786-8536

                 Hearing Impaired  (800) 828-1120