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Understanding Trauma

How trauma affects people


This class discusses the impact of trauma on people’s lives in a variety of different contexts. Traumatic experiences can change people’s brain and health development and increase the risk of developing chronic diseases later in life. Trauma also affects how a person learns to build and maintain relationships with other people, including caregivers and helpers. Untreated, this can leave people isolated and in pain, seeking relief in unhealthy coping strategies. Workers who understand this can be more effective with people who need help.  

Many people receiving services in the behavioral health field are victims of trauma of one sort or another. The normal response to atrocities is to bury them deep and not talk about them. What tends to happen is that people adapt their lives, often unknowingly, to trauma’s effects. Understanding the impacts of trauma helps workers pivot their strategies for more effective engagement and can create environments that are more equitable and inclusive for people who have diverse backgrounds. This approach creates a foundation for empathic connection and understanding, allowing participants to move towards post-traumatic growth. In addition, this foundational knowledge helps workers assess the impact of their work on their own health and wellbeing.

Learning Objectives

  • Define different types of trauma

  • Examine the effects of trauma on the developing brain

  • Reflect on why people use unhealthy coping strategies

  • Describe the research on trauma and its implications

Board Accreditation

MN Board of Social Work   

2.0 CEUs (CEP-275)

MN Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy

LADC: 2.0 CEUs (2023.CE.ADC.132)
LPC/LPCC: 2.0 CEUs (2023.CE.395)

MN Board of Nursing

This activity has been designed to meet the Minnesota Board of Nursing continuing education requirements. However, the nurse is responsible for determining whether this activity meets the requirements for acceptable continuing education.

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