Trauma Informed: Gaining Momentum

Before communities can begin to tackle problems of bullying, domestic violence, substance abuse, and other mental health problems, they need to look just a little bit deeper than the symptoms.  A great article from the LA Times.

Here in Bradenton, Florida, our opioid problem is the worst in the state.  And while research continues to demonstrate a solid link between childhood/developmental trauma and compulsive use of alcohol/other drugs, practitioners and treatment programs do not screen for adverse childhood experiences.  What a shame.

3 thoughts on “Trauma Informed: Gaining Momentum

  1. Good morning, Dr. Sutherland-Hoyt,

    I’m glad to be receiving your posts, and while I read most, I simply nod in agreement, shrug my shoulders, or just get on with my day after scratching my head — all of these after reading your posts. But this one on “trauma-informed care” required a response.

    I’m making the assumption that based on our professional association over the years you’ll understand I am simply stretching my mind a bit on this response, but come on, Louise, that article you referred us to is more “California hokum” when it claims such frequent and substantiated relationships between those assorted “childhood traumas” and adult maladies.

    I believe you know I spent 25 years practicing what many referred to as “holistic psychology” in California before moving to Northern Nevada, and those years included my conducting easily hundreds of therapeutic groups for adults. It was much more personally empowering to confront the “schools of hard knocks” that most had gone through, than to redirect back to their childhood traumas, which, of course, someone else was responsible for perpetrating on them…

    Do you get my drift? I don’t know…”trauma-informed care” is more psychobabble…or psycho-science? Anyhow, I like what you’re up to with your blog; keep on probing!


    1. Louise Sutherland-Hoyt

      Good morning Dr. Yacenda! Thank you for this response because it most certainly begs the question of whether a trauma informed mindset enables blame for any behavior on the parents and is, in fact, potentially disempowering. We, as treatment providers are about facilitating growth and empowerment among our patients and not perpetuating deflection of personal responsibility.
      The ACES study has become pivotal in predicting how cumulative trauma affects health and relationships in adult life and we have to look closely at how the effects can be circumvented earlier on in childhood. In my practice, I include questions from the ACES as part of a thorough Bio Psycho Social history taking. As well, I also use the Resilience Scale as part of this information gathering, the outcomes of which many find surprising, for they had not considered many of their “survival” mechanisms as assets.
      Bessel van der Kolk presents the case for complex trauma in his book entitled “The Body Keeps the Score”, and I refer to it often.
      I greatly appreciate your input! These discussions are welcome!
      With best regards,

      PS: My education does not include Ph.D. so, I must state that “Dr.” isn’t part of my title. ;-]
      Looking for more discussion!


  2. Good one, Louise — I like that you use the Resilience Scale as part of your information gathering, particularly if you’ve helped clients learn to appreciate the tangible value of their “survival” mechanisms. And sure, we could argue over the relative value of different “survival” mechanisms, placing a higher value on those that were completely self-generated, with a lesser value, but value nonetheless, on “survival” mechanisms that required the participation of other persons. Obviously, the more skills required of others, the less the “anticipated” value of the “survival” mechanism — that is, until their skills are delivered!

    The anticipatory therapeutic expression we used for a decade or so during the rip-roaring mid-70s to mid-80s in California was simply: “Anticipate nothing; receive All.” We were just so sure “our stuff” would work…and it did, but we didn’t always get the same results from similar interventions. So glad we are all so different, and all so very much the same.

    Keep on posting, Louise!


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