Trauma Informed Practice Beliefs Image

Trauma-Informed Practice Beliefs 


"Curiosity is the cornerstone of empathy and the path to resilience. By being curious, rather than analytical, about how survivors are seeing themselves and experiencing the varied environments they must navigate, they and we can discover what new experiences will matter the most in their efforts to not only survive but thrive." -Dr. Steele


Survivors Must Be:

  • Empowered to say "yes" or "no" to anything we ask them to do or talk about
  • Provided multiple ways to express themselves when words fail
  • Afforded the opportunity to address the common subjective experiences of trauma-fear, terror, worry, hurt, anger, revenge, accountability, feeling unsafe and powerless
  • Taught to use their body as a resource for regulating their reactions
  • Given the opportunity to identify the ways they have experienced secondary wounding and/or self-induced wounding
  • The ones who direct the pace of intervention within a predictable, structured process that always begins and ends in a safe place
  • Respected for being the best judge as to what is helping and what is hurting

Responders Must:

  • Practice within a trauma informed, brain-based developmentally appropriate framework
  • Not assume that everyone exposed to the same situation will need the same intervention. Interventions must be by choice not mandated
  • Respect that there is no one intervention that fits every survivor or situation
  • Respect that following a critical situation survivors need time to process and discover their inner resources to manage while we attend to their immediate needs
  • Be curious rather than analytical, appreciating that how survivors are experiencing themselves, others and the world matters the most in determining what new experiences will be most helpful to their recovery efforts
  • Accept that any intervention used inappropriately may "do harm" and that interventions, in both schools and communities, be time-specific and based, not on symptoms and behaviors alone, which can be misleading, but on how survivors are experiencing themselves and their world as a result of what has or is happening to them or around them
  • Use practice-based, evidence-based structured interventions and protocols that support the common needs of survivors in the first few days and those more challenging needs that emerge when primary responses have not been helpful

Training Endorsements:


For a copy of the hundreds of schools, agencies, and national associations where Dr. Steele has conducted training, and for additional information about training, contact him at this email address:

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