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What is meant by trauma?

What is meant by psychological trauma?

The term trauma can refer to a wide range of traumatic, abusive or neglectful events or series of events (including Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma in adulthood) that are experienced as being emotionally or physically harmful or life threatening.  Whether an event(s) is traumatic depends not only on our individual experience of the event, but also how it negatively impacts on our emotional, social, spiritual and physical wellbeing.  We are all affected by traumatic events in different ways. 

In summary, psychological trauma can be understood in terms of the 3 E's:

  • the Event
  • how it is Experienced
  • and its Effects


What do we mean by “Trauma Informed” Practice?

Being ‘Trauma Informed’ means being able to recognise when someone may be affected by trauma, collaboratively adjusting how we work to take this into account and responding in a way that supports recovery, does no harm and recognises and supports people's resilience.

Being 'Trauma Informed' is underpinned by the 5 R's:

  1. Realising how common the experience of trauma and adversity is
  2. Recognising the different ways that trauma can affect people
  3. Responding by taking account of the ways that people can be affected by trauma to support recovery
  4. Opportunities to Resist re-traumatisation and offer a greater sense of choice and control, empowerment, collaboration and safety with everyone that you have contact with
  5. Recognising the central importance of Relationships.


Resources to develop your 'Trauma-Informed' practice

Below are two animations which will help you to learn more about trauma, it’s impact and how to adapt the way you work to make a positive difference to people affected by trauma and adversity.

Below you will also find a further two guided videos on how to use each animation within your service and/or organisation to support the strengthening and development of trauma informed practice.  The videos introduce the purpose and aims of the workshop followed by a viewing of the animation.  There is then opportunity for facilitated group discussion and reflective exercises that encourage individuals and the wider team to consider what trauma informed practice may look like within their service and/or organisation before working together to develop a plan for trauma informed change. 

The workshops are approximately 1.5 hours long and can be delivered face-to-face or adapted for remote delivery where required.

Access to the workshop tools can be found here:-

Workshop Tools - Sowing seeds

Workshop Tools - Opening doors

5 resources