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. 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 trauma-informed training for many different audiences. A variety of one-hour and day-long trainings range from helping health-focused professionals hone skills to introducing community organizations and interested caregivers to basic trauma and brain science concepts. For school staff, Great Circle provides multiple levels of in-depth training to improve classroom environments and develop treatment strategies based on brain development, strengths and vulnerabilities. Great Circle staff also is trained to conduct trauma-informed assessments on children and adults to assist in the development of a treatment strategy that best meets individual needs.

All levels of trainings are conducted regularly across Missouri. To learn more about available trainings in your area, click on the Trauma Training section at right.