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“Trauma-responsive” means “Inclusive”

Starry.NightToday I had another saddening conversation with someone who was convinced that “only abuse, neglect, and  maltreatment” are trauma–nothing else. I am saddened because that leaves so many of us out. And I  know my stuff was showing (for those who remember, it’s kind of like “having your slip show”) when I spoke with a woman in Georgia whose organization worked with combat vets who had PTSD and TBI.

What makes us so protective in this way? What prevents us from recognizing it’s not the name of the event,
it’s the impact that makes it traumatic? Part of me wanted to shriek that I was diagnosed with PTSD before
those folks were even thought of.  Then I was embarrassed for thinking that.

When did I sign up for the Olympiad in trauma?  I didn’t realize there was a competition for who had the worst or the most or the awfulest.

Trauma-responsivity means including–and I am talking to the mirror, too–those who seem to collect stars for each traumatic event, as if a gold cup were awarded to the one who suffered the most, who was wronged the worst.

It also means letting go of the need to compete for the titles you never  wanted to have.

Help me–What am I missing? Am I just out of touch here?


“Trauma-responsive” means “Inclusive”

Elizabeth Power, M.Ed.

Elizabeth Power, M.Ed., CEO of EPower & Associates, Inc. is a sought-after speaker, facilitator, teacher, and consultant. Her firm's specialty is helping organizations make and manage change through learning and doing. Her mastery of diverse interests and innovation has been recognized worldwide through awards and publications across a wide spectrum of disciplines. Her firm provides services in the mental health and disability communities and to early childhood educators, families, parents and teachers.

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APA Reference
Power, E. (2015). “Trauma-responsive” means “Inclusive”. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Mar 2015
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