Trauma sensitive practice

Grace Children’s Therapy takes a trauma sensitive approach to client services and therapists are trained specifically to consider trauma related factors when delivering services to clients that may have experienced trauma at some stage in their life. Trauma can arise from a single or repeated adverse event that can impact on a child’s ability to cope which is often expressed through various behaviours. Our team of therapists undergo additional learning and development to understand the impact of trauma and how we can best support children all whilst helping them to continue to make progress towards their functional goals.

Trauma informed practice is a strengths-based framework which encompasses five key principles:


  • Safety
  • Trustworthiness
  • Choice
  • Collaboration
  • Empowerment and respect for diversity

Being a trauma informed practice requires a cultural and philosophical shift within the service and requires therapists to understand the impact of traumatic stress and their role in facilitating coping strategies. One of the key features is safety and security and providing an environment where children and adolescents attending the service feel safe and comfortable so we can start to build on their strengths and skill acquisition.

At Grace Children’s Therapy, we take our learning and apply it to the principles of being trauma sensitive. We understand that there is a reason for behaviour and promote a culture of comfort and safety. Grace Children’s Therapy reinforces through service delivery a culture of compassion and the role of building safe relationships and a safe space for our clients to continue their learning and development.

How does trauma present

When experiencing developmental trauma, the cognitive brain is compromised and their ability to learn is compromised. Trauma can directly impact on children’s ability to learn new concepts, have conversations and build relationships. When this occurs, the therapist, teacher and parent must shift the focus to prioritising relationships. All behaviour will come from a level of communication, and curriculum cannot occur unless a feeling of safety is achieved because our instinct at a cognitive level is to naturally put safety before learning.

  • Decrease ability to think and problem solve
  • Exaggerated arousal and emotion to minor triggers
  • Children can appear tuned out, shut down or disassociate
  • Reduced capacity to learn new things, reduced working memory
  • Regulation difficulties
  • Avoidant behaviours or expressions of distress