Trauma Initiative
Contact:  Shelly A. Nolan, MS, LPC, (860) 262-6605;

The primary goal of the Trauma Initiative is to deliver behavioral health care that is sensitive and responsive to the needs of men and women who have experienced psychological trauma. Training and professional development with clinicians and clinical case managers in the DMHAS system of care is preparing them to provide screening, education, and treatment groups. Trauma services are being developed based on the guiding principle that treatment must be informed by a sound scientific, clinical, culturally relevant, and humanistic understanding of the impact and impairment caused by traumatic stress.

1.  Trauma Informed Care (also known as Trauma Sensitive Services)

Trauma-informed care means that regardless of the reasons an individual comes seeking services, staff asks them about their trauma history respectfully, and is prepared to listen. In a trauma-informed system, services are designed to accommodate the needs of trauma survivors. Roger Fallot, clinical psychologist and Director of Research and Evaluation at Community Connections in Washington, DC, says that trauma-informed services:

  • Incorporate knowledge about trauma in all aspects of service delivery;
  • Are hospitable and engaging for survivors;
  • Minimize revictimization; and
  • Facilitate recovery.
A. SAMSHA National Links:
2.  Trauma Specific Treatment Models
Trauma Specific Treatment Models are designed to specifically address violence, trauma, and related symptoms and reactions. The intent of the models is to increase skills and strategies that allow survivors to manage their symptoms and reactions with minimal disruption to their daily obligations and to their quality of life; and eventually to reduce or eliminate debilitating symptoms and to prevent further traumatization and violence. Some of the models are listed below:
A.  Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Model (TREM and M-TREM), Community Connections, Washington, DC
  • focuses on skill building around trauma, responses and support
  • uses culturally related exercises
  • uses gender specific approaches
B.  Seeking Safety, Lisa Najavits, Ph.D
  • focus on learning coping skills
  • used with people who have substance abuse issues
  • addresses skill areas around boundaries, grounding and self care
  • a strength based model
  • participants learn self regulatory states
  • participants learn skills to control PTSD symptoms
D.  Beyond Trauma, Stephanie Covington, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
  • Safety
  • Empowerment
  • Connection (Aloneness)
  • Normal reactions (Shame)
  • Mind-body connection
  • Substance use
  • Woman centered 
Eight (8) phases of treatment :
  1. taking patient history
  2. discussing overall treatment plan
  3. identify patient safe place
  4. to serve as a reset mode when or during unbearable reminders of the past traumatic events
  5. identifying the negative cognition
  6. the installation phase
  7. identifying pain or discomfort
  8. debriefing and re-evaluation 
3. Activities
A.  Trauma & Gender Guide Team
This Guide Team meets monthly and is composed of several stakeholders (e.g., DMHAS administrators, CT Women’s Consortium, Consultants, Providers, Advocates, Peers, Academic Partners). The Guide Team is co-chaired by the DMHAS Manager of Evidence-Based & Best Practices Implementation and the Executive Director of the CT Women’s Consortium. This statewide body ensures consistency, accountability, and sustainability for DMHAS’ Trauma-Informed, Trauma-Specific and Gender-Responsive services and strategies.
B.  Trauma and Gender Practice Improvement Collaborative
The Connecticut Women’s Consortium (CWC) and the State of Connecticut, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) have joined in partnership in order to further promote a recovery-oriented system of behavioral health care that is trauma-informed and gender-responsive for adults in Connecticut. Each year DMHAS-operated and funded agencies are selected through an application process to participate in a practice improvement collaborative, including free training and consultation from national experts in the field of trauma and gender-responsive services. This initiative originally started as focusing on trauma-informed care only and in the past three years it has included a focus on gender-responsive care as well.
                River Valley Services (RVS)
2012           InterCommunity
2011           Recovery Network of Programs (RNP)
2009            ADRC
                 Wellmore (formerly Morris Foundation)
2008-09         APT Foundation
                     BH Care (formerly Birmingham Group Health)
                     Community Health Resources (CHR) (formerly CPAS)
                     Blue Hills Hospital
                     Catholic Charities
2006-07        WCMHN-Waterbury
2004-05           WCMHN-Torrington
C.  Trauma Quarterly Meeting
A networking, learning and supportive opportunity, these meetings provide a forum for providers of trauma services to share the strengths and challenges of offering and sustaining services over time. For further information contact Eileen Russo at
D. Training
4.  Videos (watch them right from these links):
  • "Men and Trauma" - 2015, 24 minutes - Men share their stories to highlight gender differences in response to trauma. 
  • "Shining Stars", 2011, 15 minutes - Young adults sharing their stories of resilience and recovery
  • "Trauma: No More Secrets", 2000, 30 minutes - Women discuss their trauma histories and recovery stories.
6.  Resource Documents
5.  Related Links

Return to: Community Services Division