Many of the youth in treatment at New Hope aren’t here because they did something bad. They are here because something bad was done to them.
As professionals working in the field of behavioral healthcare, it’s important that we approach our work with a correct viewpoint towards our clients. Having a trauma –informed lens, means that we always keep in mind the impact trauma may have had on a young person’s life; how it skews their perception of the world, of adults, of the concept of trust, of the feeling of safety, and also consider the potential long term damage that trauma may have already had on a young person’s development, particularly their brain development. Early and/or severe trauma can leave a young person dysregulated – both emotionally and behaviorally. This can drive lots of impulsive or dangerous behavior. Early trauma to a child can create mistrust of adults, this can drive a number of odd behaviors designed to test the “safety” of any adults who are currently in their life. It can fill them with self- doubt or self- loathing – which can lead to self –injurious, suicidal or self-destructive behavior.
Having a trauma- informed lens allows us to see beyond the current behavior, to understand its origins, it should provide us with increased compassion, extra patience, empathy and persistence.
When a young person in our care is acting out, we ask “what happened to you?” – rather than- “what’s wrong with you?”. This simple shift in approach is what happens when you see things through a trauma-informed lens. This will take more time, this will not be easy, but it will promote healing and that’s what we do.
They didn’t ask to be mistreated.
“ Kids – like adults want to be happy and successful. They have the will to be both – we need to teach them the skills they need to achieve both happiness and success”