Understanding Trauma Informed Treatment & Why It’s Effective for Adolescents


Growing from a child into an adolescent is a challenging developmental period for most young adults. Whether they admit it or not, emerging from the cocoon of childhood into the early stages of adulthood and the realities that come with that can be traumatic. Traumatic experiences can have lasting effects on mental health and behavior and lead to self-medication. Trauma-informed treatment grew in response to an increased need for addressing trauma as part-and-parcel of addiction and behavioral health treatment. In this blog, we will explore what trauma-informed treatment means, its key principles, and why it holds the potential to facilitate lasting recovery for adolescents. 

What is Trauma-Informed Treatment?

Trauma-informed treatment is a holistic treatment approach that recognizes the widespread impact of trauma on an adolescent’s life. It revolves around creating a therapeutic environment that fosters safety, trust, and empowerment, while acknowledging the prevalence of trauma and how it has affected the individual. This form of treatment is not limited to a specific therapeutic modality. It encompasses a mindset and principles that guide professionals in their interactions with adolescents. 

Key Principles of Trauma-Informed Treatment


  • Safety First
The foundation of trauma-informed treatment is cultivating feelings of safety and support. This involves physical and emotional safety as well as ensuring each young adult feels secure in their surroundings and interactions. If the individual isn’t comfortable and able to be vulnerable, healing cannot occur. 

  • Trustworthiness &Transparency
Trust is at the center of trauma-informed treatment. This style of adolescent treatment emphasizes transparency, open communication, and consistency. The aim being to establish a sense of trust between the adolescent and the treatment providers.

  • Peer Support
Trauma-informed treatment often involves incorporating peer support. Adolescents are encouraged to connect with others who may have similar experiences. Recognizing the importance of social connections amongst that age group, trauma-informed treatment fosters a sense of community, inclusion, and understanding. 

  • Empowerment & Choice
Too often at their age, adolescents are treated like children while expected to act like adults. Trauma-informed treatment keeps each adolescent actively involved in their own treatment. Their autonomy is respected. Empowering them to make choices about their recovery journey enhances their sense of control and self-efficacy.

  • Cultural, Historical, & Gender Issues
Trauma-informed treatment takes into account the cultural, historical, and gender-specific aspects of an individual's experience. This ensures that the treatment approach is sensitive and relevant to the unique background of each adolescent.

Why Trauma-Informed Treatment Is Effective for Adolescents


  • Addressing Underlying Issues
Trauma-informed care goes beyond symptom management. It addresses the root causes of distress and aims to heal underlying wounds. This comprehensive approach contributes to long-term recovery.

  • Preventing Re-Traumatization
Traditional approaches may inadvertently re-traumatize adolescents. Trauma-informed care actively works to minimize re-traumatization by prioritizing safety and sensitivity.

  • Building Resilience
By focusing on empowerment and choice, trauma-informed treatment helps adolescents develop resilience. They learn coping skills and strategies to navigate challenges, promoting a stronger foundation for the future.

  • Promoting Sustainable Recovery
Trauma-informed treatment is more than  short-term relief. It aims for sustainable recovery. By addressing the holistic needs of adolescents, it sets the stage for lasting positive growth.


Choosing Trauma-Informed Treatment

Trauma-informed treatment holds immense promise in helping adolescents recover from traumatic experiences and build a foundation for a healthy future. Investing in trauma-informed care is an investment in the well-being and resilience of your adolescent, ensuring that they can recover for good and thrive in their journey towards adulthood.

Call Sustain Recovery today to find out if trauma-informed treatment is right for the young adult in your life.