Toward a Trauma-Informed Public History Practice

Since public history practice often involves care work, especially when we are addressing histories of violence and oppression, public historians would be wise to adopt a trauma-informed approach to their work.


Trauma-informed care is a paradigm frequently employed in mental health and social service settings. The principles of trauma-informed care, developed by SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), are known as the “four R’s.” They require care workers to:

1) Realize the prevalence of traumatic events and the widespread impact of trauma;

2) Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma;

3) Respond by integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and

4) seek to actively Resist Re-traumatization.

icon of a text documentSee also the page Understanding Trauma



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