Module 8: What's Next? The New Frontier for Research and Practice in Trauma-Informed Care
Efforts to create trauma-informed systems and practices have come a long way. National, state, community, and provider policies reflect increased understanding of the impact of trauma and the importance of addressing the effects of trauma exposure. This awareness has led to the development of several evidence-based trauma-specific treatments that are effective in helping children and families cope with the effects of trauma and build resilience.
However, much work is still needed to address the needs of trauma survivors and prevent trauma from occurring in the first place. Areas that need more exploration and attention include:
- Understanding the impact of trauma on epigenetic changes
- The impact of trauma on brain development
- Identifying and addressing the needs specific populations, including military families, survivors of sex trafficking, and incarcerated mothers with untreated childhood trauma exposure
- The development of gender-specific practices and treatments
- Research about which treatment approaches are most effective for specific populations such as individuals with developmental disabilities or substance use disorders
- Testing the effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy
- Intentional partnering with juvenile courts, law enforcement, and first responders in implementing trauma-informed approaches
- Primary prevention programs to decrease preventable trauma exposures
- Self-care approaches for helping professionals avoid secondary traumatic stress
- Understanding the financial impact of not addressing trauma and the cost-benefits of trauma-informed care
- Reexamining prescribing patterns of psychotropic medication
Ongoing efforts at local, state, and federal levels to become increasingly trauma informed will create a nation where the cycle of trauma can be interrupted and trauma survivors have a chance to heal and live healthy, happy, and productive lives.