Rowan House: A Journey to Trauma-Informed Practice


After the devastating June 2013 floods in Southern Alberta, Rowan House began the journey towards a trauma-informed service delivery model.

Developing trauma-informed services is considered a best-practice approach in the literature for all human services. Offering trauma-informed services recognizes the pervasiveness of trauma and its impacts on a survivor’s ability to cope, to access services and to feel safe in a new environment. In domestic violence services, many women and children have experienced multiple and complex traumatic events in addition to the trauma associated with domestic violence.

Taking a trauma-informed approach builds awareness among staff and clients of: how common trauma is; how its impact can be central to one’s development; the wide range of adaptations people make to cope and survive; and the relationship of trauma with other issues such as substance use, physical health and mental health concerns.

Trauma-Informed services specifically avoid re-traumatizing those who seek their services and those who are on their staff. This knowledge is the foundation of an organizational culture of trauma-informed care.

Programs that are informed by an understanding of trauma respond best to consumer needs and avoid engaging in re-traumatizing practices.

Trauma-informed practice changes the question from what’s “wrong with you” to “what’s happened to you”.

Trauma Tree

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