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Education in the skills of trauma-informed care from a research based approach.

Who needs to become trauma-informed?


  • Those who entered their profession to help families and to prevent harm
  • Those whose clients have been abused, raped, assaulted, or traumatised and want to be an agent of healing and help
  • Those professionals who are on the brink of burnout from the dehumanisation of maternity care
  • Professionals who want to do whatever they can so that they never hear of a postpartum mother who dies by suicide
  • Everyone who knows they can become part of the solution by learning more and doing differently


Why do we need trauma-informed care?


High rates of disrespectful maternity services, provider burnout, traumatic birth experiences, and postpartum PTSD tells us that the time is now for a significant change in how maternity services are delivered. The current model is unsustainable just based on the laws of diminishing returns. Over-application of technology, interventions, and surgery are no longer continuing to improve outcomes, but rather are contributing to increasingly poorer long-term health consequences. 


"I was not prepared for the massive paradigm shift that would take place within me as an educator by taking Billie’s Trauma-Informed course. This course blew my mind, because it drove the urgency home that something needs to change and that I – ME – I could be that change for the families that walk through the doors of my facility."


At the same time, clients are presenting with more complexity. The generational effects of colonisation and attempted cultural genocide has broadened the gap in health disparities for Indigenous people. Marginalised groups are experiencing the consequences of racism, stigma, bias, exclusion, and violence. Refugees require sensitive and supportive care for their unique situation and challenges. Trafficking has affected a significant number of people, largely girls and women, who carry with them the accumulation of experiences that impact their health and their acceptance of health care strategies.


It's no longer possible to effectively deliver quality maternity care services without an accompanying education in trauma-informed care. The result of continuing to deliver services the way it's always been done, albeit with more testing and more technology, is increasing rates of trauma and the rise of suicide to become a leading cause of postpartum death in the developed world.


Trauma-informed care saves lives.


Trauma-informed care is a skill-set, much like CPR, or the ability to diagnose a treatable condition. It positively impacts the client by creating a trusting relationship where the client is able to build on positive interactions with the health care system, breaking down health care barriers, and becoming partners in their own health care decisions. It sends a message to the client that they are worthy of respectful care and that their health care needs matter.


"Doing Billie's course has changed how I will work as a doula forever. I can already see the profound change in my quality of care and how it’s making birthing women’s lives better."


Trauma-informed care benefits not just the client, but the clinician as well. It contributes to healthier exchanges between clients and clinicians, builds resilience in both parties, and develops healthy and sustainable workplaces. It improves the clinician's diagnostic accuracy, increases client participation in their own health care needs, and reduces clinician burnout and its accompanying professional and health consequences.


Trauma-informed practitioners have the ability to change the epigenetic expression of trauma in their clients and participate in breaking the cycle of abuse while at the same time improving their own health and workplace satisfaction.


Why choose Birth Trauma Ontario?


Birth Trauma Ontario's Founder and Director, Billie Harrigan, has been working with birthing families for 35 years. She is the author of the world's first research-based certification course for becoming a trauma-informed perinatal professional. This course is available online through Childbirth International and provides almost 60 CEUs accredited with distinction through ANCC. 


"Billie's training information has magically improved my sensitivity for trauma! I learned a lot about myself and my work. I am now even more qualified for my work as a midwife working with parents experiencing pregnancy loss and stillbirth. I thank her every day for having found her training." 


Birth Trauma Ontario provides the same researched competency-based continuing education through in-person learning. In-person workshops allows the learner to discuss concepts with fellow participants, ask questions in real-time, connect with professionals in their area, collaborate in adapting workplace practices, and learn skills in an interactive and dynamic setting. Plus, it's fun!


Participants will receive certificates of completion recognising their competence in Trauma-informed Foundations, Skills, and Advanced Practice. Participants who complete the Foundations and Skills workshops will meet the educational requirements for becoming a Partner with Birth Trauma Ontario. An education with Birth Trauma Ontario will inform your colleagues and clients that you are knowledgeable and equipped in trauma-informed care, you understand the complexities of the traumatised client, and you are part of the solution to the pandemic of obstetrical disrespect and birth-related trauma.  

Complex Issues Require Comprehensive Solutions

Birth Trauma Ontario believes that becoming an effective trauma-informed maternity professional requires much more than a few hours of continuing education or a one-day workshop introducing a few new skills. We believe that trauma in the perinatal client and birth-related trauma are issues that require a comprehensive education and devoted practitioners who are ready to become part of the solution.

Part One Foundations in Trauma-Informed Care

Part One Foundations in Trauma-Informed Care is a two day continuing education intensive that starts the journey to becoming trauma-informed. Anyone who works in maternity care with pregnant and birthing clients will benefit from this important foundational workshop. This is for physicians, midwives, nurses, doulas, physiotherapists, naturopaths, chiropractors, osteopaths, childbirth educators, administrators, patient advocates, chaplains, and parents themselves and their loved ones who want to understand birth trauma and how it has impacted their lives.


Foundations in trauma-informed care ensures that you can approach your clients with a deeper understanding of what trauma is, how it impacts the sufferer, how the sufferer must now cope with changes in brain structure and function, and how they manage triggers. Foundations teaches participants to recognise the consequences of trauma, to identify the elements of a traumatic birth, and identify the behaviours of obstetric violence. This workshop lays the foundation for becoming part of the solution.

Part Two Skills in Trauma-Informed Care

Building on Foundations, Part Two Skills in Trauma-Informed Care takes a deep dive into the skills required to impact client care and outcomes. This two day continuing education intensive equips the participant to understand and recognise the at-risk maternity client. It prepares the participant to effectively deal with ethics violations and obstetric violence in a collaborative and empowered way. You'll be able to help clients minimise risk factors for trauma and build on resilience-based strategies that puts them at the centre of their own healing journey. Skills moves through the six components of trauma-informed care with practical applications that work in any setting. You'll learn to apply trauma-informed care from intake to discharge. The doula is an important community liaison when providing trauma-informed care and doulas are specifically equipped to maximise their impact on client care. 


This workshop follows Part One Foundations and is intended for primary health care providers and allied health care providers, including midwives, physicians, nurses, administrators, patient advocates, doulas, naturopaths, chiropractors, childbirth educators, chaplains, and more. 


Completion of Part One Foundations and Part Two Skills provides the educational requirement for becoming a partner with Birth Trauma Ontario.

Advanced Adaptations in Trauma-Informed Care

Parts Three Advanced Adaptations in Trauma-Informed Care is a one day continuing education intensive that is available as an independent learning unit. There is no prerequisite for this workshop. This professional development unit is available to nurses, midwives, physicians, doulas, chaplains, patient advocates, and administrators. This takes an in-depth look at the causes and solutions for professional burnout and secondary trauma related to maternity services. This is a compassionate learning experience that recognises that practitioners carry high levels of vicarious and secondary trauma that impacts their wellbeing and professional satisfaction.  This workshop explores evidence-based healing strategies to help address professional burnout and enhance client care.

upcoming wokshops

March 28-29, 2020

Part One Foundations in Trauma-Informed Care

9am - 5pm

Hamilton, Ontario

Event Details

March 28-29, 2020

Part One Foundations in Trauma-Informed Care

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


9am - 5pm

Hamilton, Ontario