Trauma Assessment & Treatment Plan

Trauma Assessment & Treatment Plan

Exposure to trauma is quite common. In fact, most people go through at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. In most cases, early symptoms of trauma are barely noticeable but are often very pronounced in individuals who have or are currently undergoing a mental illness or substance abuse problem. If traumatic symptoms are left unattended for a long time, an individual is prone to develop trauma related disorders. This can ultimately affect how such individuals interact and engage with others and might also affect how they respond to treatment.

However, symptoms of trauma often mimic other disorders. Therefore, it is paramount to properly screen and assess the symptoms to reduce cases of misdiagnosis, consequently administering the wrong treatment.

So, what is screening?

Screening is the initial stage of the treatment planning process, where the client engages one on one with the treatment provider. The client gets a profound and detailed insight into the treatment process. Therefore, the mode and tools used during this stage play an important role in how the client perceives the whole process.

Screening seeks to establish whether the client has had any history of trauma and determine whether they display any symptoms that are trauma related. However, screening positive for trauma does not necessarily indicate the presence of the disorder or its severity but only warrants for further assessment to establish the extent of the symptoms. Screening negative for trauma does not also completely eliminate the possibility of the disorder.


If the client screens positive for trauma, the councilor will, in most cases, recommend further screening and assessment aimed at establishing the extent of the condition. This stage is crucial and more advanced than the initial screening. It calls for qualified professionals with advanced degrees and special training in the field and licensing or certification. The assessment process seeks to identify the nature and the cause of the disorder. It may call up to three assessment sessions before arriving at a diagnosis.

The treatment provider should be able to establish the most efficient avenues to correct the right information from the client. He might consider using a written interview, checking past clinical records, or opt for a clinical assessment.  A qualified clinical professional with prior involvement in mental health or substance abuse will engage with the client, often delving in to the client’s current and past traumatic experiences to arrive at a correct diagnosis.

Plan of Care

After a successful assessment, the information gathered, and the diagnosis arrived at, is used to come up with the most effective treatment plan. The plan identifies and prioritizes the goal that the treatment plan seeks to achieve. The treatment provider should collaborate with the client in arriving at the treatment plan to ensure that it is only tailored  to suite the needs of the client.

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