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How can trauma effect behaviour?

How can trauma affect behaviour?

According to the online Oxford Dictionary, trauma is defined as:

“A mental condition caused by severe shock, especially when the harmful effects last for a long time”

Linked to either single or multiple experiences, trauma can be triggered by these four factors:

  • Emotional
  • Psychological
  • Behavioural
  • Environmental

Perceived as an actual or interpreted threat to the individual’s well being, this negatively impacts coping mechanisms, which includes behavioural responses. Trauma and challenging behaviour becomes a vicious circle, where one reaction causes and effects the other. What could be viewed as a minor request ‘please put your phone away’ when entering a lesson could escalate quickly into an outburst based on past personal experiences.

We need to safeguard and protect those who are in our care. Becoming ‘trauma informed’ prioritises well being for all students; those who have mental health difficulties or those who are considered to be a greater risk of being exposed to traumatic events. At Pivotal we support staff to help break down those barriers to learning, with training to help keep all pupils and staff mentally healthy.

How can we support those who need us? 

There can be many barriers to learning, of course not all of these are visible. Pastoral care plays a vitally important role, both for physical and emotional well being. In today’s world, working with the younger generation brings its own new challenges and new taught life experiences. For example, 30 years ago, mobile phones and online/cyber bullying simply did not exist as it does now.

We need a united and consistent approach from all adults to learners on behaviour. There is no passing the buck of responsibility, and with everyone re-iterating the same response, crisis can be managed calmly and consistently as possible. It is time to have those open, reflective conversations, form trust and open positive communication with those who need help (in keeping with appropriate safeguarding). Take a Pivotal approach to de-escalation, but by no means lessen the impact of the sanction if needed. Keep those messages consistent with everyone and create a safe school environment where those need the extra support can flourish.

Interested in how Pivotal can support you?

Our Pivotal Curriculum Units 1 –5 cover mental health and trauma informed and safeguarding. We also offer Level 2 Safeguarding training and Level 3 Designated Safeguarding Leader training.  Call us on 020 7000 1735 to find out more.

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