Understanding its impact, delivering services & training others


Trauma happens when an experience of extreme stress overwhelms a person’s capacity to cope. Understanding the scope and impact of trauma is a key part of learning how to approach potential victims of trauma and how to intervene.

If you or someone you care about has experienced trauma, there’s hope. People can and do recover from trauma with the help of new coping strategies and specialized treatment programs.


Great Circle’s Approach

Many organizations talk about being trauma-informed. At Great Circle, it’s a part of everything we do. A trauma-informed approach is a shift in knowledge, attitudes, perspectives and skills. Instead of focusing on what’s “wrong” with an individual or family, we look at what has happened to the individual or family that created trauma.

Being trauma-informed incorporates four elements:

  • Realizing trauma’s impact and its prevalence
  • Recognizing how trauma affects all individuals involved
  • Resisting re-traumatization
  • Putting knowledge into practice

Much of our work at Great Circle is informed by the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics™ (NMT) developed by Dr. Bruce Perry and the Child Trauma Academy. This evidence-based model focuses on brain science, and looks at how stress and trauma can affect how the brain develops and how that affects an individual’s ability to navigate daily circumstances. Great Circle’s staff is now NMT trained through Phase II. Learn more about NMT training here.


Adverse Childhood Experiences

Recent studies have suggested that childhood traumas, also known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), can affect how we think, learn and react to people and the world around us.

Examples of ACEs are: abuse, neglect, disruption or violence in the home, loss of a parent or close family member, divorce, parent incarceration, living with someone with mental health or substance use issues or who has attempted suicide, victim/witness of neighborhood violence, poverty or food/housing instability.

ACEs can stunt our brain’s ability to function normally. They can increase a person’s long-term risk for smoking, alcoholism, depression, heart disease, and other unhealthy behaviors.

Findings from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health were recently released, and show that in Missouri 47.8 percent of children under the age of 18 have experienced trauma through at least one ACE. That’s slightly higher than the national average of 46 percent. Learn more about the study by reading the ACEs brief and Missouri-specific information here.


Trauma-Informed Training

Great Circle offers two types of trauma-informed training – for educators and for groups and community organizations that work with individuals and clients exposed to trauma. Great Circle also conducts assessments which help educators, counselors and other care providers develop treatment strategies based on brain development, strengths and vulnerabilities.

For educators: Neurosequential Model in Education Training – learn more at right.

For groups/community organizations: Introduction to NMT and brain science; CEUs available – learn more at right.

Assessments: Great Circle staff create a “functional brain map” that identifies areas of the brain impacted by trauma – learn more at right.