Trauma-Informed Care

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Trauma-informed care (TIC) is an approach to engaging people with histories of trauma that recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that trauma has played in their lives.


Trauma refers to extreme stress that overwhelms a person's ability to cope. It can be a single event, a series of events, or a chronic condition such as childhood neglect or domestic violence.

Three elements of trauma-informed care

A trauma-informed approach incorporates three key elements.

Realizing the prevalence of trauma

According to a national study, 61 percent men and 51 percent of women will experience at least one trauma in their lifetime.

Recognizing how trauma affects individuals

Research shows trauma disrupts the central nervous system and overwhelms a person's ability to cope. It often results in feeling vulnerable, helpless, and afraid. It interferes with relationships and fundamental beliefs about oneself, others, and one's place in the world.

Responding by putting this knowledge into practice

Trauma-informed care is a principle-based culture change process for an entire organization. It provides a new perspective where those providing the support shift from asking "What is wrong with you?" to "What has happened to you?" This change reduces the blame and shame that some people experience when being labeled. It also builds an understanding of how the past impacts the present, which effectively makes the connections that progress toward healing and recovery.

Trauma-informed care takes a collaborative approach, where healing is led by the consumer and supported by the service provider. Together, in a true partnership, people learn from each other. There's greater respect, progress towards healing, and greater efficacy in services.

"Be a Trauma-Informed Care Champion" Poster

Show your support of the 10 values of trauma-informed care as identified by the Wisconsin Trauma-Informed Care Advisory Committee. Print and display the "Be a Trauma-Informed Care Champion" Poster. (PDF, 711 KB)

Last Revised: January 30, 2017