What Is Trauma Informed World?

Trauma Informed World is a space to share 20 years of experience in Psychology with you. This includes my own lived experience of Psychosis to inspire recovery. The most important thing I want to share is a trauma informed framework to turn into a mindset for personal, social and political change. #HealingTrauma

Australian of the Year Grace Tame: #LetHerSpeak

“Using my voice amongst a growing chorus of voices that will not be silenced. Let’s make some noise Australia.”

The short pieces here highlight the difference between traditional Psychiatry and Trauma Informed Care. There has been a shift from endless division and pathology to a strength based mindset focusing on danger vs safety, reality vs imagination, helpful vs harmful; recognising we all belong. #YouBelong

Neurologist Oliver Sacks made patients the hero of their stories.

While it will always be necessary to have a categorical (i.e. depression vs anxiety) and continuum lens (i.e. we are all along a continuum and there is room to move), the pieces here help bridge the gap between Psychology and Wisdom Traditions, notions of sanity and insanity, professional and patient, injustice and trauma and oppressor and oppressed:

A common humanity (i.e. reality) is essential for personal, social and political change (i.e. world peace).

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary. Mandela spent 27 years in prison. Mandela became the country’s first black head of state and served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation:

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

One piece introduces five world views – Free Will (i.e. you are weak willed), Religion (i.e. you are a sinner), the Law (i.e. you are a criminal), the Disease Model (i.e. you are powerless with a disease) and Neuroplasticity (i.e. you are a changing human being in becoming).

Neuroplasticity led to Trauma Informed Care (i.e. safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment), which led to the Power Threat Meaning Framework (i.e. while each injustice differs, all stories share the same trauma: the negative operation of power; a call for social and political change). What makes Neuroplasticity trauma informed?

“Love is the absence of judgment.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

“It can sometimes seem as if one person will not be very effective. However, change in the world always begins with an individual who shares what he or she has learned and passes it on to others.”

The purpose of Trauma Informed World is to highlight despite our best efforts, most of our current systems (i.e. families, education, employment, criminal justice system, immigration system, government, religious institutions, etc) are still largely traumatising (i.e. silence or judgement, blame, punishment, shame and stigma).

Kopika (left) and Tharnicaa (right) were kept at Christmas Island Detention Centre for nearly two years despite trauma informed calls to return them to Biloela, Queensland. Tharnicaa has spent most of her life detained by the Australian Government and is still in community detention to this day. #YouBelong

The good news is this is easier to change than we were once taught. Throughout history, the vast majority of people did the best they could with the knowledge they had. Today, neuroscience and wisdom traditions converge. So this is our turn to step up and step in. This requires being trauma informed.

Neuroscientists listening and learning from Jagadish Vasudev, venerated as Sadhguru, an Indian Yogi and author who has been teaching Yoga in southern India since 1982.

Why?

Suicide is #1 death for young Australians. Violence is #1 death and disability for young Australian women. We have an explosion of mental illness, addiction, pandemic, climate crisis and a plethora of human rights abuses while the gap between the rich and the poor widens.

Dr Tracy Westerman AM is a proud Nyamal woman from the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology). She is a recognised world leader in Aboriginal mental health, cultural competency and suicide prevention achieving national and international recognition for her work. This is despite coming from a background of disadvantage and one in which she had to undertake most of her tertiary entrance subjects by Distance Education.

When we consider five world views it is easy to see how we got here. Judging others as “weak willed”, a “sinner”, a “criminal”, “powerless” with a disease, makes it easier for us to let many fall through the cracks and carry on living a life of privilege. Perhaps this is why apathy persists.

“Aboriginal kids have the worlds highest suicide rates, worlds highest incarceration rates: 50% of kids in care are Indigenous. Yet funded programs are not required to show they are reducing suicide or mental health risk factors. We provide no opportunity for black people to heal.” – Dr Tracey Westerman AM

Indigenous people make up 3% of the Australian population, yet are:
– 29% of the male prison population
– 34% of the female prison population
– 55% of the youth prison population
Indigenous adults are imprisoned 13 times the rate of non-Indigenous adults. As of 2020, nearly 18,000 Indigenous children were in out-of-home care. A 39% increase from the previous year. Since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, Indigenous people have doubled as a proportion of the prison population; 14% in 1991, 28% in 2021 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 and Incarceration Nation, 2021).

A person who is trauma informed does not see someone as weak willed, a sinner, a criminal, or powerless with a disease. They see a human being in a situation that is dangerous vs safe, grounded in reality vs imagination and beliefs and behaviours that are helpful vs harmful.

A trauma informed person does not wish to silence or judge, blame, punish, shame, or stigmatise. They do not require endless division and pathology. The focus is to get the person safe, with clarity, grounded in reality with a variety of choices more helpful than harmful.

This requires drawing on life’s protectors of wellbeing: body, mind, social connection, culture, country and spirituality. This requires human rights. See how this is already a trauma informed framework to turn into a mindset for personal, social and political change.

Greta Thunberg, Climate- and Environmental Activist with Asperger’s:

“You can and will continue to choose to play your parts, say your lines and wear your costumes. You can and will continue to pretend. But nature and physics are not entertained nor distracted by your theatre. The audience has grown weary. The show is over.”

Other trauma informed mindsets are:

Threat System (i.e. fight, flight, freeze, collapse) vs Social Engagement System, or what I like to call the Peace System (i.e. peace, joy, love, compassion, blissfulness, ecstasy).

Marcelo Alegre Rubic teaching free
Filipino Martial Arts, Las Piñas, Philippines.

Intimacy (i.e. safety, stillness, low arousal, flip side of freeze) and Play (i.e. safety, movement, high arousal, flip side of fight/flight).

Peace System (i.e. Intimacy and Play) despite the silence or judgment, blame, punishment, shame and stigma.

Window of Tolerance (i.e. I am safe enough and okay enough vs too much or not enough).

Isha Yoga Centre, Tamil, India.

Self-Esteem (i.e. the need to be “special and above average”; more/less, never enough; competition via a “Survival of the Fittest” mindset leaving others behind to die) vs Self-Compassion (i.e. kindness, common humanity, mindfulness; you are enough; collaboration via “Enlightenment” #YouBelong).

Compassion Prison Project, USA.

Even just these trauma informed mindsets would bring immense personal, social and political change (i.e. world peace). Remember, the majority of us were never taught this at home or school. So while world peace sounds fanciful, aren’t we at least going to have a shot?

Malala Yousafzai, often referred to mononymously as Malala, is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate:

“With guns you can kill terrorists,
with education you can kill terrorism.
If one man can destroy everything,
why can’t one girl change it?”

Personal peace on the other hand is within our reach. The byproduct of clarity is peace. Joy is peace dancing (i.e. a higher intensity of arousal). Trauma is disconnection. Empathy fuels connection. Love is the absence of judgment (i.e. Mindfulness: nonjudgmental acceptance of the present with openness and curiosity). Humanity fuels life. Life is vulnerability.

Trauma Informed Care works because it is about survival – in this reality – and wellbeing which comes naturally once our needs are met and we drop harmful beliefs that fuel division and conflict, keeping us “stuck” in intergenerational trauma. Children and animals have the healthiest emotional systems on the planet. Us adults got “stuck” in harmful beliefs and look how that’s turned out.

Former Socceroo legend, Craig Foster and NRL superstar, Sonny Bill Williams at Parliament House in Canberra, to explain why it’s time for Australia to accept the New Zealand offer to resettle refugees still stuck on PNG and Nauru.

This is not a one person job. It takes a village to raise a child. Trauma Informed Care goes beneath our name, age, gender, skin colour, privilege, culture, religion, government, nationhood: All humans need safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment. We can all keep our names, but they must be understood as secondary.

Life is primary.

You and Truth: Unplug with Sadhguru:

“It does not matter how others label you. If you wish you can change the structure of your mind. Life is not about peace, but if you do not know peace you will never know life.” – Sadhguru

Life connects to life. And yet modern civilisation has drifted so far from what life needs. One reason is because we have forgotten the basics or they were never introduced to us in the first place. Trauma Informed Care returns to the basics:

Integrity. 

I am optimistic. I see this done every day. I do it myself. I share my lived experience so that you can see, yes, I must do this too. I believe once this trauma informed framework becomes a mindset the system will naturally reform to science and compassion. It will also converge with First Nations cultures.

Robert James “Bob” Randall (c.1934 – 12 May 2015) was an Aboriginal Australian elder, singer and community leader:

“Our cultures been around 40,000 years. We’re probably the oldest culture in the world. When Caesar and Jesus were walking the Earth, we were living here, living in the moment. When Cleopatra was ruling on her throne, we were living here, living in the moment. For thousands of years, these things you think ancient, we were living here, living in the moment.”

Many systems already do this and the results are remarkable. Three things holding Australia back are our ignorance, arrogance and the negative operation of power. These are obstacles to trauma informed change. Thankfully society is changing one person at a time. My wish is to help you get here. Remember, life is “here” not there.

Throughout history, key systems – Yoga, Martial Arts, Ceremonial Dance – stood the test of time. Why? They connect life to life. They are beautiful examples that any practice of life can be used to heal trauma. The trauma informed person comes to appreciate the value of all life even if we can never fully grasp its complexities. I hope you enjoy this space.

“My heart is so small, it’s almost invisible. How can you place such big sorrow in it? “Look,” he answered, “your eyes are even smaller, yet they behold the world.” – Poet Mawlana Jala-al-Din Rumi.

Now you know the power of Trauma Informed Care. Let’s turn this framework into a mindset for personal, social and political change. If you are unable to, you might need help first, to get safe or become ‘unstuck’ from trauma. Reach out for trauma informed care. #YouBelong

With love,

Dr Louise Hansen
Psychologist
PhD in Psychology
Human Rights Activist

#HealingTrauma #Justice4Australia #YouBelong

John Lennon – Imagine (1971):

“Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky
Imagine all the people
Livin’ for today
Ah
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Livin’ life in peace
You
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.”

#YouBelong

https://youtu.be/zHxobd1WLno
#IncarcerationNation

https://youtu.be/XUyfAme3i_U

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
“Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of support we received overnight! We’re able to fund one more Indigenous Psychology student for a full three year Psychology degree from just a 10 minute appearance on ABC #TheDrum.” – Dr Tracy Westerman AM

If you would like to donate, please visit:

https://www.thejilyainstitute.com.au/about-us/
Australia’s political system is too broken to tackle climate change, and big polluters are determined to keep it that way. But we have a plan:”

https://www.climate200.com.au
My partner Marcelo Alegre Rubic who taught me do not let anyone control your life. #YouBelong

Trauma Informed World was inspired by Kopika and Tharnicaa; two faces that remind us everyday of Australia’s cruel refugee system. One of many systems in Australia that remind us of the negative operation of power. #HomeToBilo

Kopika (left) and Tharnicaa (right) were kept at Christmas Island Detention Centre for nearly two years despite trauma informed calls to return them to Biloela, Queensland. Tharnicaa has spent most of her life detained by the Australian Government and is still in community detention to this day. #YouBelong

You can listen my talk with Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, the President of Blue Knot Foundation on my own healing journey, training and study and how it has informed my work and advocacy for a trauma informed world here:

Trauma Informed World acknowledges and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and waterways on which this educational resource was inspired. I acknowledge and respect Elders past, present and emerging. I honour the continuation of educational, cultural and spiritual practices and celebrate the extraordinary diversity of people and relationships worldwide. This website contains images of deceased persons. There are also swear words in some of the songs presented that portray intense emotions. This website is not intended to trigger people who have experienced trauma. However, if you do find any of the content triggering, each page has a link to Australia’s National Helplines and Websites for immediate mental health support. These are my own personal views and comments and may not reflect the views of my employer.

Australia’s National Helplines and Websites:

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/national-help-lines-and-websites

To provide the best information possible, Beyond Blue has listed national helplines and external services. All services linked to Beyond Blue are reviewed before they are posted.

Published by Dr Louise Hansen

This is a free educational website on Trauma Informed Care for survival and wellbeing. While each injustice differs, all stories share the same trauma: the negative operation of power. Let’s break the cycle of injustice and trauma together one day at a time. The byproduct of clarity is peace. Joy is peace dancing. Trauma is disconnection. Empathy fuels connection. Knowledge is power: “Love is the absence of judgment.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama. #YouBelong

2 thoughts on “What Is Trauma Informed World?

  1. Thankyou again for a brilliant contribution Dr Louise
    You give me Hope
    The ancient wisdoms have it
    Always felt this
    Your writing sings like poetry for me
    I’m so fkd up
    However your insights make me feel strangely powerful and help me keep living because normally I don’t want to. Every morning I wake up I don’t want to.
    I think you must be a Holy person
    All the best

    Like

    1. Thank you for your kindness Karen. I hope you are okay and if you ever have an questions my email is always open. I am pleased this style of learning helps you feel empowered. Genuine Education should. Best wishes always. ❤️

      Like

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