• Laurie Fisher

Designing With a Trauma Informed Approach

What is a Trauma Informed Approach, and why is it so important to the PHNX Method?


Over the past 40 years or so, we've learned a lot about traumatic stress and its effects on mental health, development and cognitive function. The principles of Trauma Informed Care were developed to help well-meaning people avoid inadvertently retraumatizing survivors of life-threatening or psychologically harmful events.


The U.S, Department of Health & Human Services - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that:

Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening, and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual's functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional and/or spiritual well-being.

We don't often get to hear personal details about the stories of harrowing evacuations and tragic loss on the news after a wildfire. Society moves on, leaving survivors to struggle with rebuilding not only their homes but their lives. A wildfire most certainly fits the definition of a traumatic event, and it's rare that it is recognized as such outside of the impacted community itself.


Professionals serving these survivor communities should understand how trauma affects thought-processes and decision-making skills for anyone touched by the tragedy. Designing and building a home is complicated and clients have big decisions to make. If the professional does not recognize that their normal thought processes may be impaired by trauma, the consequences can be serious, long-term and costly.


Dedicated to making this process better for fire survivors, PHNX developed a streamlined approach to design and construction that reduces risk and minimizes the complicated decisions fire survivors need to make. Following SAMHSA's Six Guiding Principles of a Trauma Informed Approach, everyone on the PHNX team understands and can respond to the unique impacts of losing a home in a wildfire.


Six Principles of Trauma Informed Care


Perhaps not surprisingly, it turns out that a Trauma Informed Approach to design benefits everyone going through the design process, not just fire survivors. Just as Universal Design accessibility elements like ramps and handrails make getting around easier for us all, the PHNX trauma informed approach makes navigating a very difficult process easier - for anyone!


Contact us today to learn how to get started on your Forever Home!


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