Trauma and the Model for Healthy Living

by Andrea Blanch

How trauma can create challenges within each component of Church Health’s Model for Healthy Living.

Faith Life: Building a relationship with God, your neighbors, and yourself.

  • Trauma survivors may question how God could let violent events happen, experience a loss of faith, or come to believe they deserved to be punished. Because their ability to trust has been shattered, they may have problems finding or restoring their relationship with God. Spiritual counseling that takes these factors into account can help.

Medical: Partnering with your health care provider to manage your medical care.

  • Medical procedures can be re-traumatizing to trauma survivors. As a result, trauma survivors may avoid preventive care or not follow through with treatment plans. Trauma-informed medical staff can make a huge difference.

Movement: Discovering ways to enjoy physical activity.

  • Traumatic memories are often stored in the body. As a result, trauma survivors, particularly those who have experienced physical or sexual abuse, may have difficulty staying grounded in their physical bodies. Helping trauma survivors to rediscover joy in their physical being can be extremely healing.

Work: Appreciating your skills, talents, and gifts.

  • Trauma underlies many costly workplace problems, including substance abuse, absences, accidents, and excessive health care utilization. Trauma-informed employers and supervisors create emotional safety, recognize signs of current or past trauma, and make necessary accommodations.

Emotional: Managing stress and understanding your feelings to better care for yourself.

  • Trauma, particularly early in life, affects one’s ability to manage stress and to regulate emotional states. Understanding the roots of someone’s emotional outbursts can make it easier to respond with kindness rather than frustration or anger.

Nutrition: Making smart food choices and developing healthy eating habits.

  • Some trauma survivors use food for self-soothing or self-protection. In fact, childhood adversity is a strong risk factor for obesity. Weight control and healthy eating programs that do not take trauma into account may be ineffective with these individuals.

Friends & Family: Giving and receiving support through relationships.

  • Trauma healing happens in relationships. But because survivors often have difficulty trusting others, their ability to form relationships may be hampered. Special efforts may be needed before trauma survivors can reap the benefits of spiritual community.

>>Download the Model for Healthy Living Trauma flyer here<<

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