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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tamara Dickson

Trauma-Informed Care, Naturopathic Medicine, and Salutogenesis

Salutogenesis is the study of health promotion. It is the decades-old investigation of what protects people from stress and is one of the influences on our modern definition of resilience. Founded by a sociologist, Aaron Antonovsky in the mid-early 80's, researchers on salutogenic theory have since investigated and documented the things that allow some people to stay healthy in the face of adversity. It outlines what sorts of influences and resources in someone's life will make it more likely that they bounce back and is an excellent companion approach to trauma-informed care.

For folks who have struggled and suffered the adult or childhood traumas of:

Poverty and food insecurity

Domestic violence

Gun violence




Natural disasters

Racism and discrimination

A medical diagnosis or procedure

A caregiver’s addiction

A caregiver’s mental illness

Parental incarceration, deportation, separation,

Learning skills and accessing resources that foster resilience is key to healing and avoiding the long-term health effects of toxic stress, PTSD, and CPTSD.

It just happens that Naturopathic physicians naturally touch on many important aspects of TIC and salutogenic resilience building in their patient intake and treatment approach.

Trauma-Informed Care principles image from The Army of Survivors

In a Naturopathic intake, medical and personal history is fully explored for its influences on the current state of health. One of our principles is to Treat the Cause of disease and considerations for mental and emotional origins like trauma are inherent since we are extensively trained in the mind-body connection, somatization, and the physical and biochemical effects of chronic stress.

Our principle of Doctor as Teacher means that we naturally educate our patients and clients on the workings of their body, their test results, what the treatment options are and the reasons why. Not only is this transparency empowering, but we know that collaboration is the key to success. Treatment plans do not work well when people don't understand them, don't agree to them, or aren't motivated to follow them. We are trained in diet, nutrient therapies and therapeutic diets, botanical medicine, pharmaceutical medicine, physical medicine, hydrotherapy and energy medicine, as well as minor surgery, IV therapy, and in some cases, acupuncture. We are all about providing choices, and will refer out for support where necessary.

The way we interact with patients and clients is person-centered by design. Our style of interview technique has been shown help foster coherence and resilience.

Individualization of care, respect for the patient experience both past and present, and promotion of choice through educational support is integral to all three of these approaches.

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