Congruence between trauma-informed and resilience-informed approaches

Commonality between the two approaches

TI and RSJI approaches both foreground the importance of social context. Both concepts are understood as occurring within social contexts. Accordingly neither trauma nor resilience are believed to be fostered or attenuated without recognising the importance of context. TRIRPP takes the position that research itself is one such context which can be improved upon to minimise trauma and retraumatisation and to foster and maintain resilience.

Both TI and RSJI approaches explicitly recognise the concepts of trauma and resilience. The approach taken by the Centre of Resilience for Social Justice conceives of resilience as a response to and transformation of adversity – of which trauma is one recognised form. Similarly, Trauma Informed approaches explicitly acknowledge and aim to support resilience as recognised by Elliot et al. 2005.  Importantly, both approaches foreground processes that facilitate empowerment – of individuals in TI approaches and individuals and also communities in RSJI  approaches. Culture is also highlighted in both – to define meaningful outcomes as a means of fostering resilience (30) and to recognise cultural legacies and context in order to understand and respond to trauma (28). This high level of congruence tween the two approaches indicates both can be drawn on to develop Trauma and Resilience Informed Research Principles and Practice (TRIrPP).

Although trauma is understood as a deficit and resilience as an asset, this does not render them incongruent as principles. Beneficience (doing good) and non-maleficence (avoiding harm) sit alongside each other as  principles of ethical research – Beauchamp & Childress (2001) with obvious connections between resilience informed approaches as beneficent in intent and trauma informed approaches as non-maleficent.

Given the congruence of these constructs it’s not surprising that existing endeavours have explicitly brought together Trauma and Resilience. However, these generally situate trauma as a context of adversity from which resilience may emerge with interventions aiming to improve resilience among traumatised individuals such that these interventions tend to be built around trauma-informed models. Examples include the Trauma and Resiliency Informed Practice (TRIP) Programme for drug treatment staff and the Trauma Resiliency Model for psychotherapy.

TRIRPP takes the position that resilience emerges – and can be fostered – in the contexts of both trauma arising from single traumatic events and from contexts of chronic adversity, arguing as others such as Michael Ungar have, that trauma and resilience can co-exist just as can their respective principles for informed approaches to care.

Beauchamp TL, Childress JF. Principles of biomedical ethics. New York: Oxford University Press; 2001.

Elliot DE, Bjelajac P, Fallot RD, Markoff LS, Glover Reed B. Trauma-informed or trauma-denied: principles and implementation of trauma-informed services for women Journal of community psychology. 2005;33(4):461-77..

 

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