Promoting evidence-based, trauma-informed social work practice

Mersky, J. P., Topitzes, J., & Britz, L. (2019). Promoting evidence-based, trauma-informed social work practice. Journal of Social Work Education, 55(4), 645-657.


Given the human costs of psychological trauma, social workers should be well versed in trauma-informed care (TIC). This framework helps guide the efforts of systems, organizations, and practitioners toward reducing trauma or mitigating its effects. The field has created TIC principles, although they have yet to be fully realized as practical applications. This article makes the case that theoretically and empirically grounded content on trauma should be foundational to social work education. We also argue that social work practice will be advanced by clearly defining trauma and by distinguishing TIC from trauma-focused and trauma-sensitive approaches. Finally, a TIC certificate program illustrates how graduate student training and social work practice are enhanced by integrating trauma content into classroom and field settings.

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