Category Archives: Trauma-Informed Care

Why It’s Important to Identify as a “Trauma Survivor”

How being a trauma survivor can be empowering

My clients aren’t running around town wearing “I’m a trauma survivor” t-shirts.

Of course they aren’t. Who wants to announce that bad things happened to them? No one!

And yet, unfortunately, many live with the aftereffects of trauma every day and don’t know it.

Trauma is what happens to your nervous system after you’ve felt unsafe and scared, and powerless to escape or protect yourself.

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What to Do About Suicidal Thoughts in a Pandemic

suicidal thoughts

Who knew when the year started we’d be separated from loved ones for months? And here we are, canceling celebrations, work and vacation plans, and not even hugging our friends. We are facing more stress – financial, emotional, social – than anyone could have imagined. We haven’t seen the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health yet. But as therapists, we know that as chronic stress continues, more people will experience depression and even suicidal thoughts. Continue reading

Northern Virginia Family Practice Virtual Town Hall: Be Well Virginia

On May 7, 2020, Robyn was a guest at the Northern Virginia Family Practice town hall. This meeting took place during the COVID-19 epidemic and Robyn was on the panel with Dr. Jennifer Santoro. Robyn and Dr. Santoro shared their insights on the psychological impact the recent COVID-19 pandemic has had on our community as well as different ways to cope with feelings about COVID-19 and how to think about the future.

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Support for Trauma Survivors & Their Loved Ones

Support for Trauma Survivors and Their Loved Ones

This article was written by Heather Tuba and is an interview with Robyn Brickel and Laura Reagan, LCSW-C, CDWF.   

If you are feeling inundated and overwhelmed by information about the trauma of the world right now, you are not alone. And if you are someone who experienced childhood trauma or you are in a relationship with them, you already entered this time with a lot on your plate.

In order to help survivors and their loved ones in one post, I asked two trauma-informed experts to weigh in on the topic of support for trauma survivors and their loved ones during Coronavirus. While this post is a bit longer than usual, I hope to give you trauma-informed information and insights you can use now and in the future.

You will also find links throughout the post and a recommended resources list from my guests and myself at the end.

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3 Ways To Empower More Trauma-Informed People in 2020

Trauma-informed 2020

Entering a new decade is an important time to look at where we are and where we’d like to go. It’s a chance to leave behind old ways that have not been so helpful and embrace new ways — the kinder, more trauma-informed, more compassionate ways that nurture our best selves. When it comes to mental health, I’d like to move past the things that aren’t serving us as individuals, families, communities, or human beings—and embrace and enhance the ones that are.

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A Compassionate Look at “Borderline Personality Disorder” From a Trauma-Informed Lens

DSM 5 terminology for Borderline Personality Disorder

When someone has a mental health issue or illness, therapists look to a diagnosis, so we can better understand it, gather information about it and treat it precisely as mental health professionals.

However, sometimes the terms themselves may add to the challenges in working with the patient. I admit, I’m troubled by the diagnostic term borderline personality disorder (BPD). The negative traits and pathologizing language usually associated with this term make it hard to use the terminology or diagnosis without also being extremely detrimental to the client. These kinds of terms can then worsen the problem of the stigma associated with mental illness, which we all have to confront. When we use certain terms, we may unwillingly subject people to prejudice, judgment and stigma that can prevent them from getting help, receiving compassion, and seeking out a trauma-informed approach to treatment. This is not okay!

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7 Powerful Trauma-Informed Lessons from Rocketman


*Spoiler warning: This article reveals the general storylines of Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody*

Have you seen the film Rocketman yet? I hope you do! Here’s why I think it’s a beautiful movie that everyone should see. Like the film Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman provides a powerful example of how attachment trauma in childhood can fuel a cycle of shame, pain, and addiction. Even better, it also reveals a pathway to recovery. Rocketman is trauma-informed because it helps us understand how emotional injuries impact a trauma survivor’s behavior and what that person needs for growth and healing. Through compassion, support and reparative relationships, healing is possible.

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