Contact Information
Los Angeles County
Department of Public Health
Office of Women's Health
1000 S. Fremont Ave.
Building A-9 East, Unit #105
Alhambra, CA 91803
Phone: (626) 293-2600
Email: owh@ph.lacounty.gov
trauma informed care banner

What is Trauma?

Trauma consists of three basic components:
1. Threat to physical, emotional, and/or psychological safety
2. Loss of choice
3. Dysregulation of a person’s autonomic nervous system

Difficult life experiences such as neglect, loss, various forms of violence and victimization like sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, intimate partner violence, rape, or human trafficking, and/or the witnessing of these events or horrors like terrorism and natural disasters are all forms of trauma.

There are multiple types of trauma:
• Historical
• Intergenerational
• Chronic
• Cumulative
• Vicarious

Trauma refers to a survivors’ biological response to the difficult events that have occurred in their life. We have all experienced some form of trauma to one degree or another. Traumatic events become problematic when these responses remain active once the threat itself has passed and the attempt to cope creates problems like physical symptoms, mental health problems, unhealthy behaviors, and difficulties in social situations and interpersonal relationships.

What is Trauma Informed Care?
At its core, trauma informed care considers a person’s life experiences; “what happened to you” versus “what is wrong with you”? It connects the impacts of an individual’s experiences on their overall wellbeing (physical, emotional, and psychological), provides choice, and is client centered and practiced at the individual patient/client and system levels.

The Definition of Trauma Informed Care from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

1. Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;
2. Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system;
3. Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices;
4. Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization

Where can I find out more about Trauma and Trauma Informed Care?

Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Understanding Trauma: When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Echo Parenting and Education – Impacts of Trauma

National Council for Behavioral Health - Why Trauma Matters in Primary Care

Futures Without Violence – Promising Futures Promoting Resiliency

Echo Parenting and Education – 5 Domains of Post Traumatic Growth

Self-Care Wheel - inspired by and adapted from “Self-Care Assessment Worksheet”
from Transforming the Pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Traumatization by Saakvitne, Pearlman & Staof TSI/CAAP (Norton, 1996). Created by Olga Phoenix Project: Healing for Social Change (2013).

Resources for LA County Employees:
LA County Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Additional Resources:

Center for the Developing Mind at Harvard University

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD

Printable list of Resources in LA County
Understanding Trauma

Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
Los Angeles County Seal: Enriching lives through effective and caring services