Trauma-Informed Care: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How Havening Techniques Can Be Integrated

By Dr. Kate Truitt

Trauma-informed care is a framework for understanding, recognizing, and responding to the impact of trauma on individuals and communities. It is based on the understanding that trauma can have a profound impact on all aspects of a person’s life, including their physical and mental health, relationships, and behavior.

The Importance of Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care is important because it recognizes the impact of trauma on individuals and communities. It is an approach to providing care that is sensitive to the needs of people who have experienced trauma.

Guiding Values of Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care is an approach that is grounded in several guiding values and principles, including:

  1. Safety

Safety is the top priority in trauma-informed care. Healthcare professionals recognize that individuals who have experienced trauma may feel unsafe and vulnerable, and they work to create an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for everyone involved.

  1. Trustworthiness

Building trust through honest and transparent communication is essential. Trustworthiness acknowledges that individuals who have experienced trauma may struggle with trusting others due to their experiences and that healthcare professionals must demonstrate reliability and consistency to build trust.

  1. Choice

Trauma-informed care emphasizes the importance of individual choice. It recognizes that individuals who have experienced trauma may have lost a sense of control or agency and that healthcare professionals must empower them to make choices about their care.

  1. Collaboration

Collaboration is key in trauma-informed care. It emphasizes the importance of involving individuals in their own care and decision-making process. Collaboration acknowledges that individuals who have experienced trauma have a unique understanding of their lived experiences and must be respected as experts in their own lives.

  1. Empowerment

Empowerment is at the heart of trauma-informed care. It recognizes that individuals who have experienced trauma may have lost a sense of control or empowerment in their lives. Empowerment emphasizes the importance of restoring individuals’ sense of agency and control over their lives and healing journey.

  1. Cultural humility

Trauma-informed care is rooted in cultural humility, which emphasizes the importance of understanding and respecting each person’s culture, beliefs, and experiences. Practitioners must recognize the impact of trauma within a cultural context and develop culturally responsive practices that promote healing and recovery for individuals.

By prioritizing these guiding values and principles, healthcare professionals can provide effective and empowering support to individuals who have experienced trauma.

4 Cs of Trauma-Informed Care

The 4 Cs of trauma-informed care are Calm, Contain, Care, and Cope. These principles form the foundation of a trauma-informed approach and are relevant in providing effective care for individuals who have experienced trauma.

  1. Calm

Creating a calm and safe environment is crucial for individuals who have experienced trauma. This involves adopting a soothing tone of voice, using reassuring body language, and providing patients with choices to help them regain a sense of control. By setting a calm atmosphere, healthcare providers help to alleviate anxiety and create a space where patients feel safe to express themselves.

  1. Contain

Trauma can make individuals feel overwhelmed and out of control. To support patients, healthcare providers must help them feel contained and supported. This can be done through various means, such as grounding exercises that help bring patients back to the present moment, teaching coping skills that empower individuals to manage their emotions, and connecting patients with resources and support networks that can provide ongoing care and assistance.

  1. Care

Compassionate and respectful care is at the heart of trauma-informed practice. Listening to patients’ stories without judgment and validating their experiences are essential steps. By offering empathy and understanding, healthcare providers create a safe space for patients to share their struggles and begin their healing journey. This person-centered approach recognizes the importance of their unique experiences and fosters a sense of trust and connection.

  1. Cope

Building resilience and coping skills is vital for individuals who have experienced trauma. Healthcare providers can help patients develop these skills by providing psychoeducation about trauma and its effects, helping them identify their triggers, and working collaboratively to develop personalized strategies for managing symptoms. This empowers patients to take an active role in their own healing and equips them with tools to navigate challenges and build resilience.

Remember that each person’s experience is unique. As healthcare providers, we can create a more compassionate and trauma-sensitive environment where healing and growth can thrive.

What are the benefits of integrating the Havening Techniques into your clinical care? with Trauma-Informed Care?

Integrating Havening Techniques with trauma-informed care can offer a powerful combination for supporting individuals on their healing journey. Havening Techniques, created by Drs. Ronald Ruden and Steven Ruden, and co-developed by myself, are a set of therapeutic interventions that utilize sensory input to help reduce the emotional and physiological distress associated with traumatic experiences.

If this is your first time hearing about the Havening Techniques, watch this short clip on YouTube: An Introduction to the Havening Touch with Dr. Kate Truitt. In it, I explain how the Havening Touch can actually shift the way our brain is functioning in the moment.

When combined with trauma-informed care principles, Havening Techniques provides additional tools to promote healing, empowerment, and resilience.

  1. Improved patient care quality and satisfaction

When patients undergo Havening sessions, they often describe feeling a much deeper sense of safety and calm. This can make a big difference in their overall experience with mental health care. By focusing on the sensory aspects of trauma and stress through Havening, patients can immediately alleviate distressing symptoms, leading to a more positive experience and higher levels of satisfaction with treatment.

Additionally, an enriched patient experience has been shown to be associated with better adherence to treatment plans and follow-up care. This means that patients are more likely to stick with their treatment and feel supported and understood throughout their healing journey.

  1. Enhanced therapeutic outcomes

Havening Techniques have been associated with improved therapeutic outcomes due to their direct impact on the brain’s coping mechanisms. By helping to reduce the heightened response to stress and trauma, Havening can assist in lowering the instances of re-traumatization and facilitate the therapy’s progression.

This approach complements cognitive and behavioral interventions, potentially leading to quicker and more sustainable recovery from psychological distress. Clinicians may observe a decrease in symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD, thereby contributing to the overall effectiveness of the therapeutic intervention.

  1. Increased patient engagement and empowerment

When patients experience the benefits of Havening, such as decreased anxiety and improved emotional regulation, they are more likely to engage actively in their therapeutic journey. Havening can empower patients by providing them with a tool they perceive as immediately effective.

This feeling of empowerment is crucial for building self-efficacy, which is the belief in one’s ability to manage and cope with challenges. As patients witness their own capacity for change and healing, they become more motivated to participate in other aspects of their care, enhancing the therapeutic alliance and their engagement with the treatment process.

  1. Better coordination of patient-care

The Havening Techniques can enhance coordination in patient care by providing a common framework for different care providers. As a complementary approach, Havening can easily be incorporated into various therapeutic models, ensuring that all practitioners involved in a patient’s care are working synergistically. This coordination can lead to a more holistic treatment approach, where practitioners from different backgrounds can collaborate effectively, utilizing Havening as a touchstone for the patient’s care plan. This not only streamlines the treatment process but also ensures that the patient receives a consistent message and strategy for healing from all providers.

  1. Cost-effective intervention

The Havening Techniques can be a cost-effective intervention for several reasons. Firstly, the potential for Havening to expedite the healing process can result in a reduced number of sessions needed to achieve therapeutic goals. Secondly, as Havening may prevent the recurrence of symptoms by fostering resilience and self-regulation, there can be a decrease in the long-term use of healthcare resources. Finally, by potentially reducing the need for more intensive interventions or hospitalizations due to crises, Havening can contribute to significant cost savings for both healthcare systems and patients. Thus, integrating Havening into clinical care can be financially beneficial while maintaining high-quality patient care.

At its core, Havening is about empowering patients to take control of their own well-being and providing them with the tools necessary to grow and change. By meeting patients where they are and utilizing evidence-based research, Havening can help people move from a state of distress to a state of safety and calm.


Trauma-informed care recognizes that the healing process is unique for each individual and tailors care to the individual’s specific needs, promoting resilience, healing, and growth. Havening techniques can also be integrated into trauma-informed care to promote self-healing and empower patients. This self-healing program can provide individuals with simple and effective tools to draw upon their brain’s ability to heal itself, build trust with their mind and body, soothe their nervous system in moments of reactivity, and create feelings of safety, agency, and personal empowerment – all with the palms of their own hands.

If you are a clinician who is interested in integrating Havening Techniques into your practice, there are a number of resources available to you:

Use code HEALING to get 30% OFF.

Additional Resources for Havening Techniques

If you are interested in learning more about trauma-informed care or Havening Techniques, please visit the following resources:

To help you learn more about this topic, here are all of the resources I mentioned in this post:


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