Understanding the effects of trauma
This past spring I attended a conference that featured a presentation on the effects of trauma on the brain. Seeing the images of the brain before and after treatment was fascinating. Stress, resulting from trauma, can have any number of negative impacts and serve as the source of persistent ailments and disorders. The relationship between trauma, stress, and illness are well known, but for the first time we can see its impact and track improvement as a result of treatment.
For all the children, youth, and families we serve, trauma is a given. For many, their trauma is rooted in violence, loss, and so many persistent life challenges. As this issue has become more dominate in the practice field, we at Hillsides have taken on the challenge of becoming more effective at addressing trauma, confident that the treatment we offer can help restore hope and health to all we serve.
The starting point in this process is to recognize the trauma that we ourselves have experienced. The ability to be in touch with what has been traumatizing in our own lives allows us to empathize with others who have experienced trauma. Beyond the common experience, the challenge is to provide an environment that allows the causes of trauma to be addressed effectively.
Hope is robbed when trauma rules, however, hope is restored when a hurt can be recognized and addressed. Treatment conducted in a respectful environment where safety is assured and compassionate care is offered relieves the stress caused by trauma and sets a path to restoring hope.
As I visit with our residents and follow their progress, I see the impact of trauma lessen and their childhoods restored. I may not be able to see a brain scan to demonstrate the improvement, but I can see the smile on a face and a carefree demeanor that indicates for me that something good has happened…hope has been restored.
The truth is that no one gets through life without experiencing trauma along the way in some manner. For each of us, caring people in our lives have helped us deal with challenges without losing hope. For those we serve, Hillsides offers a cadre of people whose sole purpose is to help address the traumas of life effectively and in the process make a lasting change in their lives.