Year: 2023 Source: Clinical Social Work Journal. (2021). 49, 10–19. SIEC No: 20230320
The need for helping professionals to provide services from a trauma-informed perspective has been receiving increasing attention. The primary goal of adopting a trauma-informed approach is to prevent inadvertent re-traumatization during service provision, and to ensure people receive appropriate services in a non-pathologizing manner. However, despite the growing recognition of trauma-informed approaches, there is lack of clarity in the literature about their application to group settings. This paper examines this area of service provision by: outlining the key concepts of trauma-informed practice; describing the relevance of these concepts to group work; identifying specific benefits of becoming trauma-informed; and providing best practice recommendations and cautionary notes for group work practitioners. These recommendations include: (1) assessing for past trauma prior to commencing groups; (2) developing safety and respect within the group setting; (3) focusing on building affect regulation and self-care skills at the beginning of groups; (4) minimizing possibilities for re-traumatization through containment strategies; and (5) recognizing and responding to the potential contributions of oppression and marginalization to traumatic life experiences.