7 Tips for providing trauma-informed care to Latin@ survivors
Thursday, October 5th, 2017
1. Understand collective and historical trauma. Understand the origins of historical, collective, structural, and intergenerational trauma, and recognize Latin@ survivors’ resiliency, wisdom, and strength. To learn more about the different kinds of traumas, read Trauma-informed Principles Through a Culturally Specific Lens.
2. Avoid making assumptions and be prepared to challenge your own beliefs about Latin@ cultures and other cultures or groups of people. If you make a mistake, rather than providing justification, acknowledge the impact and learn from your mistake. Have a process of self (and organizational)-reflection when these situations occur.
3. Do not ask for social security or immigration documentation to survivors seeking your services. The immigration status of individuals seeking domestic violence services is irrelevant to the criteria for accessing these support systems. You may not seek support from the police in every case, as this may put family members in danger of deportation. Learn more here.
4. Help families establish a safety plan. For marginalized communities, rapidly changing laws provide surmountable stress. Staying informed about the national and local law enforcement policies and practices is essential to safety planning with survivors and their families. For up-to-date information on safety planning tips and changes in immigration law, visit ilrc.org.
5. Keep the realities of Latin@ survivors and their children central to your work. Take into consideration the subgroups present within the community and identify their values and interests, and use inclusive language. Develop policies that reflect inclusivity and implement them. For example, incorporate and periodically review a language access plan and train staff regularly on implementing it.
6. Educate yourself about intersectionality. Do not assume that domestic violence is all survivors’ most pressing need. Seek guidance to learn about the common elements of trauma and oppression and how they intersect in the lives of survivors from different cultures, but don’t expect survivors and communities of color to teach you about their identities. Be proactive; seek that knowledge by researching, attending trainings, and engaging in self-reflection.
7. Promote cultural healing. Often, for Latina women, healing takes place within the context of community, which might look different from a mainstream model that emphasizes individualistic therapy. Instead, self-care for many Latina women happens in the company of others. As an advocate, uplift emotional healing and collective healing that values holism such as meditation, contemplation, imagery, and other connective states.
 Comas-Diaz, Lillian. “Latino Healing: The Integration of Ethnic Psychology into Psychotherapy.” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 43, 4 (2006): 436-453. Print.