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Trauma Informed Care

Trauma-informed Care (TIC) refers to a range of interventions, practices and scientific perspectives that acknowledge the rates of individuals who are affected by trauma in our community, understands how trauma impacts on their lives and their mental health support needs and emphasises the importance of considering trauma when understanding a consumer’s presentation. TIC also prioritises the wellbeing and health of the workforce by acknowledging and supporting staff experiencing vicarious and secondary trauma in the workplace. 

MSAMHS supports TIC practices as key to recovery for consumers affected by psychological trauma. This means staff are supported to prioritise a consumer’s broader life context, recognise signs of trauma and consider if a consumer’s presentation is an adaptation to traumatic experiences. Staff are also supported to respond by providing safe, collaborative, strengths-focused services that empower consumers, and to be mindful of systems or processes within a service that may lead to re-traumatisation.

About the TIC Framework

This Framework refers to TIC strategies and practices that normalise responses to trauma by understanding people through the lens of “what happened to you and how did you cope, rather than what is wrong with you”. Practices range from using trauma-informed language, showing compassion, empathy and validating and normalising a consumer’s experience, prioritising the management of physiological arousal, understanding and helping to identify patterns of responses at a neurological level, reconnection to positive relational resources and support with social skills development.  TIC extends to more complex interventions to normalise coping skills and understands that some coping has changed from adaptive to maladaptive as a response to threat, promoting identity formation and empowerment and specific trauma focused therapies.  It also includes supporting staff to manage vicarious and secondary trauma exposure.

Overarchingly, TIC informs awareness and understanding of the degree to which traumatic events can impact on how consumers and staff flourish, learn, engage socially, and strengthen their mental and physical health.

This TIC Capability framework assists staff to be aware of and incorporate into regular practice TIC principles according to their capability and professional scope of practice.  The Framework provides staff with a greater awareness of TIC and its application for working with individuals with mental health issues and/or addictions, along with capabilities to identify, refer, support, educate and provide care to individuals in an inclusive, recovery-focussed and non-judgmental way.

Trauma Informed Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Guidelines to improve the journey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers have been launched by Addiction and Mental Health Services. Trauma-Informed Care and Practice: A guide to working well with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will help ensure hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients receive culturally-appropriate care.

The guidelines are designed to increase awareness that Indigenous Australians experience different types of trauma to the non-indigenous population.

Please view the practice guidelines and other resources below to learn more about the Trauma Informed Care approach to receive the best implementation advice; and a professional case study.

Find more information

We would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Turrbal, Jagera, Yuggera, Yugumbeh, and Bundjalung lands on which this document has been developed. We pay our respects to the Elders past, present and future.


We would like to acknowledge and thank the many people from steering groups, focus groups, working groups and NGO’s who offered their time and expertise to provide consultation on the Therapy Capability Frameworks. We appreciate the level of experience and effort that went into the recommendations as their contributions have made these documents more robust, inclusive and meaningful.  All contributors are listed by name in the Close Report presented to the project sponsor, the Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Branch (MHAODB). We would also like to express our appreciation for the funding contributed by MHAODB to enable the completion of this phase of the Therapy Capability Framework project.

Co-Authors of this document (listed alphabetically):     

  • Michelle Combo – Team Leader, Way Forward, MSAMHS
  • Melissa Connell - Allied Health Manager, Special Project - Alcohol and Drug Service, Metro North Mental Health
  • Sarah Craig – Senior Psychologist, Workforce Development Officer - Therapies and Allied Health Team, MSAMHS
  • Alan Gude – Team Leader, LADDERS, MSAMHS
  • Geoff Lau – Director, Therapies and Allied Health, MSAMHS
  • Nicola Spence – Psychology Professional Lead, PAH, MSAMHS
  • Michelle White – Director of Psychology, Bayside Mental Health, MSAMHS

Additional specialist contributors: Elizabeth Truong (Manager, QTMHC) and Renee Lee (Rehab Therapy Aide, Alternatives to Admission, MSAMHS).

Last updated 4 November 2021
Last reviewed 4 November 2021