Sometimes important distinctions can get lost in jargon or language that is specific to a certain job or situation. That is true in a lot of different situations—including the process of choosing a substance use treatment center. For example, when you are searching for treatment options, you might see or hear phrases like “trauma-informed” and “trauma-responsive.” At first glance, those might seem to be the same thing, though you might not be sure what either phrase actually means. You may well be familiar with the notion of trauma, and it might seem like whether a recovery center is “informed” or “responsive” is of little consequence to the quality of treatment on offer.
But that isn’t true. At The Aviary Recovery Center, we are committed to care that is trauma responsive.
Let us tell you why.
What Does it Mean to be ‘Trauma-Informed’?
There is plenty of evidence that connects trauma and the development of a substance use disorder.
As a result of that knowledge, nearly every treatment center can be accurately described as “trauma-informed.” The phrase really doesn’t mean much more than it says: the staff of treatment center X, Y, or Z is aware of the ways in which trauma can contribute to a substance use disorder. Their treatment methodology takes into account any traumas a person with a substance use disorder may have experienced in the recent or distant past.
That, of course, is important. Any treatment center that does not take into account past traumas is not going to be terribly effective at helping individuals develop a strong foundation for their recovery. But a trauma-informed methodology is not the best possible option for those seeking treatment for a substance use disorder.
What Does it Mean to be ‘Trauma-Responsive’?
An organization—like The Aviary Recovery Center—that is trauma-responsive does more than take trauma into account when designing treatment plans (though they certainly do that). Instead, they seek to actively mitigate the effects of trauma in a person’s life by making thoughtful adjustments across the organization.
Making these adjustments takes both commitment and effort. It requires taking a look at the entire organization in a comprehensive manner. For example, an organization working to be trauma-responsive will consider how the parking lot is lighted, whether the website is accessible to everyone (including those with disabilities), and how best to answer the phone.
Trauma responsiveness requires buy-in from the entire organization—not just those directly responsible for providing detoxification and rehabilitation services. Board members, administrative staff, maintenance staff, and more must all be committed to trauma responsiveness. A spirit of creative, compassionate care for everyone who seeks services is absolutely essential.
But trauma responsiveness is not just for the people who are served by a treatment center like The Aviary Recovery Center. The concept applies to the staff and board members, too. That means the organization must be attentive to the needs of everyone to foster an environment that serves people’s sense of safety and well-being. Healthy conflict resolution practices, a commitment to respectful and clear interpersonal communication, and an approach that treats every person as an individual worthy of both compassion and respect are key for a trauma-responsive organization.
No Matter the Trauma You May Have Experienced, We Can Help
As we have noted, the staff of The Aviary Recovery Center, near St. Louis, MO, is fully committed to a trauma-responsive approach to treatment. Whether you had adverse childhood experiences (often abbreviated ACEs); are struggling with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to military service, law enforcement work, or any number of other career experiences; or have experienced another cause or kind of trauma, we are equipped to serve you well as you seek to overcome a substance use disorder.
Mental health and sobriety are deeply intertwined, and so we are prepared to address co-occurring mental health disorders (including depression, anxiety, and any trauma-based disorder) as we help you regain your sobriety. Whether a mental health disorder has been worsened by your substance use disorder, your substance use disorder has resulted in whole or in part from a mental health disorder, or a complicated combination of the two, we are able to help you make progress in both areas.
If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, the time to get help is right now. Let us get to work helping you regain and maintain your sobriety so that you can reclaim your life.