Recent News & Events

  • Understanding the Effects of Trauma

    A traumatic event can affect a person and their behavior for years. Whether it’s an act of violence, an automobile accident, sexual abuse, or witnessing a traumatic event, the repercussions continue to be felt later in life and affect their perspective.

    Through the use of Trauma-Informed Care, Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute is engaging people with histories of trauma, recognizing the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledging the role that trauma has played in their lives.

    Statistics show that most people receiving mental health services have experienced a traumatic event in the past.

    “Our mission as a Trauma-Informed Care organization is look at the whole patient and respond to the impact of trauma in their lives, as well as the lives of their families and even our staff,” explained Stephanie Kegel, MBA, LCSW, CAADC, CCDPD, CCS, Adult Service Line Director. “It is a treatment framework running through all the services we provide that involves understanding the effects of trauma in a patient’s life and how that may relate to the patient’s current behavior.”

    Understanding how past traumatic events impact a patient’s behavior today gives both providers and the patient a greater sense of control and empowerment.

    Trauma-Informed Care is based on six key principles set forth by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

    1. Safety so that staff and patients feel physically and psychologically safe.
    2. Trustworthiness and Transparency among staff, patients, and family members.
    3. Peer Support for building trust, establishing safety, and empowerment.
    4. Collaboration and Mutuality that recognizes everyone has a role to play in a trauma-informed approach.
    5. Empowerment, Voice and Choice where individuals’ strengths are recognized, built on, and validated and new skills developed.
    6. Cultural, Historical and Gender Issues in which the organization actively moves past cultural stereotypes and biases.

    “Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute started focusing on Trauma-Informed Care about three years ago, and the program has continued to grow,” noted Kegel.

    Trauma-Informed Care training is now part of the orientation program for all staff. A Trauma-Informed Care Champion has been made a formal position to lead the change, and provided with training and budgeting to continue its growth. They’ve also developed support for departments to help units develop the program according to their unique circumstances and responsibilities.

    “It is a new mindset and a culture shift,” Kegel added. “It’s not what’s wrong with you but what happened. We are not judgmental – we see patients as individuals with unique backgrounds and that helps them better recover.”

     

    “Trauma-Informed Care is a treatment framework running through all the services we provide that involves understanding the effects of trauma in a patient’s life and how that may relate to the patient’s current behavior.”
    —Stephanie Kegel, MBA, LCSW, CAADC, CCDPD, CCS, Adult Service Line Director