Trauma-informed care for women: why it’s different and so desperately needed

Trauma-informed care for women: why it’s different and so desperately needed

Someone you know has experienced trauma

The statistics around violence and abuse against women in Australia are confronting. One in six (or 1.6 million) women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner since the age of 15, and one in four (or 2.2 million) women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or previous partner since the age of 15. One in five (or 1.7 million) women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15*.

If you think about your extended family, your workplace, your friend group or a crowd at a concert or sports game, those numbers become very real – and very distressing.

Treating trauma – not just its symptoms

Until recently, conditions such as depression and anxiety were treated as standalone diagnoses. We now know that these conditions are often caused by trauma, which is why trauma-informed care, which looks not just at the symptom but the cause, is so critical in these cases.

The key is helping people suffering from trauma-related mental health concerns to understand how those symptoms, behaviours or patterns of thinking might have come to be. Then we can begin to unlearn behaviours that might have once helped us to survive but now make our lives difficult or even unmanageable.

Trauma can make us feel isolated: like we’re the only person on Earth who thinks or feels the way we do. Group therapy is a critical factor in treating these feelings as they address the underlying causes and help people to feel less isolated in their experiences.

Care for trauma-affected bodies and minds

Trauma affects the body as well as the mind. Chronic pain, illness and physical condition all affect our enjoyment of life and chances for recovery from trauma-related conditions.

Trauma can often involve dissociation, where the mind ‘leaves the body’ in order to disconnect from distressing experiences or memories. Reconnecting with our physical selves can be key in regaining balance and good mental health.

A whole-of-body approach, incorporating water therapy, exercise, art therapy, time in nature and yoga can offer this reconnection as well as offsetting the effort people might be exerting in laying the foundations for their recovery.

Reach out for support

Just like physical illnesses, the treatment and specialist care a person might need for one mental illness may not be suited to the next person.

As the largest private provider of mental health care in Australia, we are dedicated to making a real difference in the lives of those we treat, with whatever pathway they need.

At our specialist women’s only clinic in Thirroul, our expert team offers support for a range of trauma-related conditions in a supportive, safe environment.

We encourage you to reach out to our expert team who can assist you in finding the right avenue for your mental health care journey.

*Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017