A Trauma-Informed Industry
At least some of the major names & organizations of the industry that are "trauma specialists" are not trauma-informed. This is a trending buzzword out there in the world — so let's define the difference between being a trauma specialist & being trauma-informed.
"Trauma-informed" doesn't mean writing papers about how to work on trauma with clients, or dissecting trauma under a microscope.
Trauma-informed means practicing consent, understanding accommodations & triggers, listening instead of talking, asking "What happened to you?" rather than "What's wrong with you?" — creating a safe(r) environment, asking what someone needs to feel safe(r), listening to victims when they say there's something wrong, removing shame-inducing practices, & more.
Someone being a trauma specialist actually does not automatically include their practice being trauma-informed. This is extremely important for our community. Someone can be very trauma-informed & gentle without being specialized in trauma, and someone can study trauma and have a long CV full of degrees, papers, presentations, & CEUs in trauma treatment and not be at all trauma-informed.
Since trauma is unique to every individual, the first step in becoming trauma informed is listening to the traumatized person(s) being accommodated.
Being trauma-aware and accommodating is not only for clients/customers/patients. It's for employees too. Harming employees behind the scenes and trying to mask that to the public will not last at all. (Re)Traumatized employees cannot consistently provide trauma-informed care.
A trauma-informed organization will help employees prevent burnout, repetitive stress issues, overwhelm, procrastination, perfectionism, etc. It will pay off in spades, no matter what the business or organization is.
Since the idea of "trauma-informed" has become something of a buzzword, folks are misusing it. It's easy to say, and no one is regulating it. However, if you know what to look for it can be easy to tell whether an organization is truly trauma-informed. They don't tell you how they do things. A trauma-informed organization won't flap their lips about being trauma-informed and brag about how wonderfully accommodating they are about trauma and show you the things they rolled out company-wide to help folks with trauma.
They ask you what you need. Right from the start. They go out of their way to make sure you're comfortable, that you have access, that you are accommodated — whether you have a letter of accommodation or not. It should be evident from the hiring process if you're a prospective employee — or how you're greeted at the door or on the phone if you're a client. Trauma-informed is a culture not a checklist.
We're never done becoming trauma-informed. This is a practice and a culture of continual improvement. Every client, every employee, etc. is a new discovery into how a unique person needs to be accommodated. It isn't enough to go through a policy manual once and scrub through the environment for generic triggers and declare it done and set in stone. It's a process & culture of accommodation and continual improvement.