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Trauma is a near universal experience of individuals with behavioral health problems. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, 55% – 99% of women in substance use treatment and 85% – 95% of women in the public mental health system report a history of trauma, with the abuse most commonly having occurred in childhood. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. Almost two-thirds of the study participants reported at least one adverse childhood experience of physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or family dysfunction, and more than one of five reported three or more such experiences.

An individual’s experience of trauma impacts every area of human functioning — physical, mental, behavioral, social, spiritual. The ACE study revealed the economic costs of untreated trauma-related alcohol and drug abuse alone were estimated at $161 billion in 2000. The human costs are incalculable.

Trauma is shrouded in secrecy and denial and is often ignored. When we don’t ask about trauma in behavioral health care, harm is done or abuse is unintentionally recreated by the use of forced medication, seclusion, or restraints.

The good news is trauma is treatable — there are many evidence-based models and promising practices designed for specific populations, types of trauma, and behavioral health manifestations.

A Revolutionary Approach

Oprah Winfrey and 60 Minutes underscored the impact of trauma in our world. It’s time we recognize the importance of trauma-informed care. Read more on the response from our President and CEO, Linda Rosenberg.


 Download the Trauma-Informed Care Consulting one pager.

Photo of Karen Johnson
Director, Trauma-Informed Services
Washington, DC
Karen Johnson, MSW, LCSW, director of Trauma-Informed Services, brings to the National Council over 19 years of clinical and administrative experience [...] Read More

Photo of Linda Henderson-Smith
Director of Children and Trauma Informed Services
Linda Henderson-Smith, PhD, LPC, Director of Children and Trauma Informed Services at the National Council for Behavioral Health, has over 14 years of [...] Read More

Photo of Cheryl Sharp, MSW, ALWF
Exclusive Consultant for Trauma Informed Care Initiatives
United States
Cheryl Sharp holds the unique perspective of a person who has recovered from significant mental health challenges, a trauma survivor, a family member [...] Read More


Request consulting services in trauma-informed care.


Addressing trauma is now the expectation, not the exception, in behavioral health systems. Every day, behavioral health organizations are asking the National Council how they can be better prepared to offer trauma-informed care.

The National Council’s trauma-informed care initiatives have helped hundreds of organizations across the country map out and operationalize a plan for delivering trauma-informed care. National Council trauma experts can help you devise and implement a complete A-Z trauma-informed care plan for your organization. They help you address board and leadership buy-in, workforce training, practice changes and guidelines, community awareness, and outcomes measurement. Our experts are available for short-term and long-term consulting and training engagements at your site and can work hands on with your core implementation team.

Addressing trauma helps your organization improve the quality and impact of your behavioral health services, increase safety for all, reduce no-shows, enhance client engagement, and avoid staff burnout and turnover.

Start today with one or more of the three key trauma-informed care consulting and training packages that the National Council offers:

Organizational Self-Assessment and Follow-up

The National Council’s Trauma-informed Care Organizational Self-Assessment is designed to increase your awareness and readiness to adopt the key components of a trauma-informed care organization and to identify what you need to keep doing and reinforcing, stop doing, or start doing the right thing. Our consulting package is designed to help you complete the assessment, review results, and develop strategies for improvement. We meet face to face with your leadership and core implementation teams, offer in-person site visits and phone consultations, schedule monthly calls to track and discuss progress, and give your team access to key resources.

Introduction to Trauma-informed Care

A day-long training at your site for all your staff provides an overview of trauma across the lifespan, discusses its impact, explains what it takes to be trauma-informed, offers helpful tools (i.e., trauma-focused therapy, alternative healing such as WRAP), and explores proven models of trauma-informed care.

Seven Domains of Trauma-informed Care

The seven domains of trauma-informed care are early screening and assessment, consumer-driven care and services, nurturing a trauma-informed and responsive workforce, evidence-based and emerging best practices, creating safe environments, community outreach and partnership building, and ongoing performance improvement and evaluation. In each of these areas, the National Council offers a half-day education workshop followed by 1-day onsite consulting on the implementation process. We help you set up performance indicators and provide essential tools and resources.

And More…

The National Council also provides consulting and technical assistance to help you

  • Address compassion fatigue
  • Use the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) as a tool to heal trauma
  • Nurture trauma-informed peers
  • Rebuild organizational culture in the context of trauma
  • Examine issues related to gender and trauma
  • Practice trauma-informed supervision of staff
  • Build trauma-informed communities
  • Understand trauma-informed evidence-based practices

Check out this shareable infographic on Language Matters or this one on Why Trauma Matters in Primary Care.

The National Council is leading the three-year initiative, Trauma-Informed Primary Care: Fostering Resilience and Recovery, to educate health care providers on the importance of trauma-informed approaches in the primary care setting. Learn more.

National Council Magazine
An entire issue of National Council Magazine is dedicated to Trauma-Informed Behavioral Healthcare. The magazine contains more than 20 cutting edge articles from leading researchers, policy specialists, administrators, clinicians, and peer representatives as well as interviews and case studies from organizations and communities seeking to make the transition to a trauma-informed culture of care.

Manage Trauma Infographic
The National Council’s popular infographic “How to Manage Trauma” presents key facts and stats on trauma in behavioral health and outlines the symptoms and coping strategies. View and share this infographic.

Trauma Survivors Bill of Rights
Thomas Maguire’s Recovery Bill of Rights for Trauma Survivors is presented in a National Council infographic to help persons who’ve experienced trauma cope and manage their rights.

Top 12 Self-Care Tips For Helpers
Transforming Compassion Fatigue into Compassion Satisfaction

Video: An Introduction to Trauma Informed Care with Cheryl Sharp

National Council Webinars
Trauma-Sensitive Schools
Karen Johnson
Cheryl Sharp

Helping Children Recover From Trauma
Bruce Perry

Does Your Organization Measure Up: Are You Really Trauma-informed?
Cheryl Sharp and Linda Ligenza, October 18, 2012

Mobilizing a Community to Address the Impact of Childhood Trauma
Teri Barila and Mark Brown, September 17, 2012

Trauma from Adverse Childhood Experiences: The Hidden Epidemic
Vincent Felitti, August 27, 2012

Engaging Women in Trauma-Informed Peer Support
Cheryl Sharp, Cathy Cave, July 9, 2012

Stories from Survivors: A Primer on Suicide Prevention
David Covington, Cheryl Sharp, Kevin Hines, and Major General Mark Graham, September 12, 2012

Addressing Trauma through Mental Health First Aid
Cheryl Sharp, February 22, 2012

Mitigating Disaster Trauma: Lessons from Sandy
Linda Ligenza, Christian Burgess, Vicky Mieseler, November 14, 2012

Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

Request consulting services in Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment CONSULTANTS Pam Pietruszewski, MA, National Council for Behavioral Health – Pam is a Motivational Interviewing trainer and is listed in the National Registry of SBIRT Trainers from the Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). […]

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Customer Service

Request Customer Service Consulting CONSULTANTS: David Lloyd Scott Lloyd Randy Love Willa Presmanes Bill Schmelter Michael Flora David Swann Joy Fruth Katherine Hirsch John Kern Annie Jensen   NEED FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE Significant changes lie ahead for the financing and accountability of community health care. Whether through insurance exchanges, co-ops, or expansion of Medicaid managed […]

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Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is an effective communication tool to help people living with mental illness, addictions, and other chronic conditions make positive behavioral changes to support their overall health. Based on four fundamental processes — engaging, focusing, evoking, and planning — it provides a framework for creating a dialogue about behavior change.

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Healthcare Compliance & CPT codes

The Affordable Care Act broadens the definition of fraud, increases financial penalties, and establishes new government audit programs. For the first time, compliance programs are mandatory conditions of enrollment in Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. Are you prepared? If not, get help from National Council consultants.

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Change management & health reform readiness

David Lloyd and his MTM Services team — of SPQM fame — have led 700+ behavioral health organizations across the country in adapting to changing healthcare delivery and payment systems. The National Council for Behavioral Health partners with MTM Services to prepare you for a dynamic new marketplace by helping you with a number of items including: Assess your readiness for health reform and identify areas for development; Reduce treatment wait times and costs; Pre-certs, authorizations and re-authorizations; Referrals to clinicians credentialed on third party/ACO panels; Co-pay collections; and more. Timely/accurate claim submission Manage change through rapid cycle strategic planning and action for change management

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Leadership & Workforce Development

The Milbank Memorial Fund report, Health Worker Shortages and Global Justice points to a shortage of about four million health workers needed to deliver essential health services. Behavioral health is not alone in the workforce challenges we have long grappled with. Long-committed to ensuring a robust, qualified workforce that meets the needs of those we serve, the National Council for Behavioral Health recognizes that healthcare leadership and workforce development are critical now more than ever. We offer a vast array of leadership and workforce development initiatives to help behavioral health organizations develop their human capital.

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Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma is pervasive. In the United States, a woman is beaten every 15 seconds; a rape occurs every 6 minutes. Trauma is now considered to be a near universal experience of individuals with behavioral health problems. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, 55% – 99% of women in substance use treatment and 85% – 95% of women in the public mental health system report a history of trauma, with the abuse most commonly having occurred in childhood.

Learn More

SPQM: Operational efficiencies & data-driven decisions

With continuing fiscal challenges and the dramatic payment and service delivery changes that health reform is ushering in, it’s more important than ever before for behavioral health organizations to turn service delivery data into actionable information that clinicians, administrators, and executives can use to make objective decisions.

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