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I love this post! I am a COTA/L That works as a home visitor/parent coach for the birth to three population. I would love to get connected with other therapist who are interested in implementing trauma/resilience resources and interventions in there treatments. This is such an important topic, I hope one day we will be required as healthcare professionals to use the ACE screener.

Hi! Warning: this will be VERY long, because I want to clearly explain why I am preparing to and have begun outreach to national rehabilitation medicine associations to determine the current state and advocate for required traima-informed care training in every program across the nation.

I'm a physical therapist and survivor of childhood trauma and complex PTSD. It took over 15 years of begging & pleading for help only to be labeled as "anxious and depressed", "treatment-resistant", and "therapy-resistent" after seeking care from over 20 psychiatrists, physicians, counselors, and psychotherapists. I lived in survival mode, trying every therapy modality (none of which were trauma-informed) and probably over 30 combinations of medications, lifestyle changes... I did everything each clinician wanted to try, and while I likely had transient reduction in some symptoms, I was never free of the symptoms, the emotional dysregulation, constant stress, disorganized thinking and what I later learned was dissociation. This led to nearly every clinician sort of throwing their hands up, saying I'd have to learn to deal with my misery and poor quality of life myself, or they'd refer me to someone else, or simply say there was nothing more that could be done.

I white-knuckled early adulthood, rushing through life, never resting, earning my doctorate at age 23, throwing myself into working as much as I could (resting meant panic, anxiety, dissociation, thoughts that made me wonder who I even was), and throughout this time somehow maintained a relationship with my now-husband.

After having my second child at age 30, I felt something inside of me collapse and shatter, and it didn't feel like postpartum depression or anxiety; it felt like I could not remain rooted in reality, couldn't breathe, constant panic with no identifiable consistent triggers. I was chaos-seeking and angry and mentally unstable and, though I was on some antidepressants already, I could no longer cope. All my defenses and strategies were useless. So. I reverted to substance abuse, because it was all that allowed me a moment of relief, a clear mind, the ability to breathe.

Around 2 years ago, hit rock bottom, consuming a fifth of whiskey every 2 days or so, blacking out daily and abusing my husband emotionally and verbally, scaring my children- I was becoming my mother and wanted to no longer exist.

My husband presented me with an ultimatum: try to get help again or our relationship would not survive and I knew that would also mean him taking over care of our children because I knew they were not safe with me until I changed.

I found a psychiatrist and it took every ounce of strength I had left to open myself up again, place myself at risk for re-traumatizing at the hands of a medical professional. But this psychiatrist... she flipped my world and head and heart upside down. She saw me, heard me... and was appalled that none of the many clinicians I had seen over the prior 15 years had mentioned trauma, my childhood, and that I had never been advised to try trauma therapy. She said that it was no mystery why none of the treatments hadn't worked: they had not been the proper kinds, that the tools I had learned could not be used properly until the trauma was addressed.

I've been with a trauma therapist, who has saved my life and my children's by helping me break the cycle into which I was born, for a little over a year. We do IFS, which has been the game changer, and some EMDR. She has validated me- my existence, my behaviors and patterns, my dissociation and cognitive/memory deficits, my symptoms stemming from deep, complex, years and layers of trauma that as we know caused my brain to develop abnormally.

I still have work to do for sure, but I am at a point where I've uncovered at least one feature of my identity, which I'm trying to develop and cultivate after never truly having one, and that is that I am a giver, a carer. I want to help people, change lives, change landscapes. It is part of my healing and part of my mission to break the cycle, and it manifested as a NEED to somehow advocate for change so that no other person would be like me, in her 30s and grieving not only my childhood but essentially my entire life.

I am doing what I can on a small scale: sending letters requesting information on what, if any, trauma-informed education and training is required by local school districts, local health care clinics and medical practices, and educating my colleagues.

I have contacted the APTA, AOTA, and ASHA to inquire about trauma-informed training within curricula of accredited programs across the nation and requesting to meet with commissioners and board members for each to advocate and receive guidance on how to ensure that trauma-informed care training is a standard, mandated requirement for every PT/PTA, OT/COTA, and SLP program in the country.

So far, the responses I've received have indicated that my inquiries and requests have been escalated. I will not stop. All healthcare professionals should be required to receive training on trauma. It will take time and numbers and loud voices, but I will never stop trying.

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