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Trauma-informed approach

Imagine a world where we interact with every life we meet as if we knew their story of hardship and trial—and engaged with them from that knowledge. Welcome to trauma-informed approach (TIA)

What is trauma-informed approach?

Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful, or life threatening. These experiences have lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and well-being. Trauma-informed approach offers behavioral health, health care, and other providers a way to gain the knowledge and skills needed to promote healing, recovery, and wellness.

Dr. Isaiah Pickens, Ph.D., an expert on cultivating trauma-informed approach through research, practitioners, families, mental health, and the juvenile justice system, explains:

Watch our webinar on trauma-informed approaches


Working with community organizations and other state agencies, our goal is to move Washington towards a statewide culture of trauma-informed approach.

In a trauma-informed organization, everyone – from the leaders who set policy and procedures, to the people answering phones and staffing the front desk:

  • Is aware of the role that trauma can play in people’s lives.
  • Accepts symptoms and difficult behaviors as coping strategies.
  • Works collaboratively to create a safe and empowering environment for those seeking services and staff.

News and updates

  • HCA awarded nearly 1.4 million dollars in grants to organizations across the state to build on the trauma-informed work already happening across the state, and to support interest that has been unfunded to date.
  • From July through September 2019, HCA offered free trainings throughout Washington State on Trauma Informed Approach for direct care staff, supervisors, leaders, and community members, including Train the Trainer sessions.
  • HCA is offering trainings for state agency employees through October 31. State employees only. Learn more and register.
  • Online versions of the training sessions will be available soon.
  • HCA, in collaboration with other state agencies and people throughout the state, is creating a toolkit of trauma informed resources, which will be available later this year.
  • Federal block grant funds, awarded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), are allocated for HCA’s trauma-informed work.