Trauma-Informed Approach

Trauma-Informed Approach and Trauma-Specific Interventions

SAMHSA’s six key principles of a trauma-informed approach and trauma-specific interventions address trauma’s consequences and facilitate healing.

Trauma-Informed Approach
According to SAMHSA’s concept of a trauma-informed approach, “A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed:

1. Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;
2. Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the
3. Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and
4. Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.”
A trauma-informed approach can be implemented in any type of service setting or organization and is
distinct from trauma-specific interventions or treatments that are designed specifically to address the
consequences of trauma and to facilitate healing.
SAMHSA’s Six Key Principles of a Trauma-Informed Approach
A trauma-informed approach reflects adherence to six key principles rather than a prescribed set of
practices or procedures. These principles may be generalizable across multiple types of settings, although
terminology and application may be setting- or sector-specific:
1. Safety
2. Trustworthiness and Transparency
3. Peer support
4. Collaboration and mutuality
5. Empowerment, voice and choice
6. Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues
From SAMHSA’s perspective, it is critical to promote the linkage to recovery and resilience for those
individuals and families impacted by trauma. Consistent with SAMHSA’s definition of recovery, services
and supports that are trauma-informed build on the best evidence available and consumer and family
engagement, empowerment, and collaboration.

Trauma-Specific Interventions

Trauma-specific intervention programs generally recognize the following:
• The survivor’s need to be respected, informed, connected, and hopeful regarding their own
• The interrelation between trauma and symptoms of trauma such as substance abuse, eating
disorders, depression, and anxiety
• The need to work in a collaborative way with survivors, family and friends of the survivor, and other
human services agencies in a manner that will empower survivors and consumers