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10 Careers That Could Benefit From Trauma-Informed Care Training

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Regardless of whether or not you have a PTSD diagnosis, you may have experienced traumatic events during your lifetime that shape who you are today. Sometimes, your reactions to certain sounds, sights, or smells may be so subtle that no one even notices. While this can be helpful if you don’t feel like sharing your entire life story with someone you just met, it can also make some situations difficult to navigate as you try to get your immediate needs met while grounding yourself.

• What is PTSD?

In some professions, trauma-informed care has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years as more people learn how traumatic events shape people’s lives. Unfortunately, many career fields don’t provide any sort of continuing education at all, and they certainly don’t consider something like trauma-informed care to be important.

As someone who lives with complex PTSD (C-PTSD), I think it’s time we change that. In fact, I think individuals in these 10 careers would benefit from even a small dose of trauma-informed care training.

1. Mental Health Providers

Mental health providers — whether they are therapists, psychiatrists, or peer support specialists — would benefit from trauma-informed care training for obvious reasons. These professionals are often helping people through some of the most difficult moments of their lives, and understanding how a person’s past can impact everything from their current behaviors to the way they respond to certain types of treatment.

Mental health providers are not required to go through formal trauma-informed care training. However, receiving this specific coaching can help these professionals make their clients feel safe and empowered while also building a relationship built upon trust and collaboration. 

2. Health Care Professionals

Just like mental health providers, health care professionals like doctors, nurses, and patient care technicians would benefit from trauma-informed care training so they can provide the most effective care and treatment. This can be especially important if individuals have medical trauma, as they may need individualized care based on their history. When doctors and other health care professionals understand the way trauma impacts their patients, they can provide comfort and understanding as they treat them medically.

Furthermore, trauma-informed care can be important for individuals who currently live in an abusive environment, and having this training can help health care providers help their patients. This may come in the form of listening, or resource provisions to help patients stay safe.

3. First Responders

First responders, like firefighters, EMTs, and police officers, also need trauma-informed care training. Since these individuals are often the first people on the scene for any event, they often deal with people while their emotions are high. Emotional intensity often causes our bodies to dip into “fight or flight” mode, and many people with a trauma history will pull out their automatic trauma responses during these heated moments.

If first responders received proper training on trauma-informed care, they would be able to deescalate the situation without resorting to shouting, gunfire, or similar responses that often make the situation even worse. Furthermore, this type of training would help first responders understand the fear many people experience when they deal with these professionals, and they could change the way they approach the situation from the start to help people feel more comfortable and safe.

4. Educators and Paraprofessionals

Teachers, school nurses, and educational assistants work with children from a wide variety of backgrounds every single day. Most teachers realize that not all of their kids are the same. However, many teachers and other school employees don’t receive any sort of training to help them understand how a child’s home life can impact their behaviors and interactions with others inside the classroom, and it makes for some difficult moments for many teachers.

Trauma-informed care training would help teachers and others within school settings understand that sometimes actions that look like misbehavior are actually a way for kids to express emotions they lack the language to describe. It would also help teachers recognize signs of trauma or other mental health concerns, or even just provide teachers with better information to help them support and care for children in their classroom.

5. Management and Human Resources

When you’re in the business of managing people, you need to understand how people think and behave. Unfortunately, a lot of the information people in management and human resources receive on effective management involves blanket statements and generalizations that don’t take a person’s cultural background, underlying health conditions, or history into consideration whatsoever. This is why these individuals would really benefit from trauma-informed care training — it would completely change the way they work with their employees.

These careers in particular desperately need this type of education so they can help people even more.

6. Service Providers (Massage, Nails, Hair)

Massage therapists, nail technicians, hairstylists, and similar service providers deal with a wide variety of clients and often interact with them through conversation as they touch various parts of the client’s body. As you can imagine, this can sometimes cause unexpected trauma triggers to pop up for some people. Unfortunately, most of these providers have little to no training on trauma or interpersonal communication as most of their schooling is focused on techniques and skills rather than client relations.

Trauma-informed care training would be highly beneficial to these service providers because it would help them learn to read things like tone, nonverbal cues, and other subtle communications to gauge how their clients are feeling. Furthermore, it would help them think more carefully about what they say or do in certain situations, which could help clients with a trauma history feel more comfortable and safe while they receive these services.

7. Marketing and Graphic Design Teams

Have you ever watched a commercial or seen an ad online and experienced an unpleasant emotional response? Well, this is likely because most people who work in marketing, graphic design, and other related fields don’t always realize the effect their marketing efforts will have on people (Urban Decay, anyone?). Well, with the proper trauma-informed care training, more brands and marketing teams would understand how their content impacts people, which would help them avoid upsetting images or videos.

8. Transportation Providers

Unfortunately, public transportation isn’t always a safe space for the people who use it. Between the hustle and bustle that happens within buses and subways along with the driver’s need to focus on both the road and their passengers, it’s an easy place for individuals to take advantage of passengers that they’ve deemed an easy target.

While providing trauma-informed care training wouldn’t stop every single assault that currently occurs on public transit, it could be a tool that would help the transportation providers assist people and make their buses, trains, and other modes of transportation a safer place.

9. Customer Service

During my time working in retail, I learned that asshole customers weren’t actually assholes — they were just stressed or overwhelmed with emotion (at least most of the time). However, most of the teenagers and young adults working in customer service positions don’t have the background or training to understand customer behaviors and identify possible underlying causes.

If these employees received trauma-informed care training, though, they might learn how to read customers better. This would help promote better customer-associate relations, which in turn could improve job satisfaction and company profits. Worst case, it would at least help customers and the service representatives they talk to avoid shouting matches or other awkward moments.

10. Librarians 

Public libraries sometimes serve a critical role in people’s lives. Sometimes, these are the places with free internet access or resources for individuals. Other times, public libraries can be a sort of refuge for people who just need a space where they can feel safe for a moment. However, librarians may not always realize what people are in the library for, and they may not understand a person needs help. Or, in some cases, they may offer too much help and ask intrusive questions that upset people instead of helping them.

With trauma-informed care training, these individuals could set themselves up to help people and provide a safe space without overwhelming someone who may already be dealing with difficult life events.

Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive and, in all honesty, every profession could benefit from trauma-informed care training. However, I do think that these careers in particular desperately need this type of education so they can help people even more.

Getty Images photo via sturti

Originally published: May 9, 2022
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