Part one foundations in trauma informed care

Trauma-Informed care begins with a solid Foundation

This two day continuing education intensive equips you with the necessary trauma-informed foundational knowledge to start becoming part of the solution. Birth trauma is a global pandemic that has contributed to suicide now being a leading cause of postpartum death. A strong Foundation ensures you will understand the issue, know what factors contribute to birth trauma, and will begin learning what you need to know to not harm women in maternity care and childbirth.

Open to everyone

There are no pre-requisites for the Foundations workshop. This is open to everyone who interacts with maternity clients and birthing families so that they understand what trauma is, how it impacts individuals, families, and societies, and what the primary triggers of a traumatic birth are so that they can prevent adding more harm to those who are suffering.


Parents and their loved ones will also benefit from this workshop by gaining a better understanding of what happened to create birth trauma, how changes in brain function are contributing to their symptoms, and how managing triggers can lessen their torment. There is an introduction to strategies that help to heal trauma for the sufferer. 

"Even with a background in supporting foster and adoptive families with trauma histories, I was not prepared for the massive paradigm shift that would take place within me by taking Billie's trauma-informed course."


Part One Foundations in Trauma-Informed Care is a prerequisite to Part Two Skills in Trauma-Informed Care. Participants who complete continuing education in both Foundations and Skills will have met the educational requirements for partnering with Birth Trauma Ontario.

Course Content

Course Content

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1. Herstory - History

  • This section is a survey through history from early matricentric cultures to today's institutional technocratic model as explored through a feminist perspective. You'll complete this section with an understanding of why today's maternity system operates on patriarchal foundations and why women are programmed to accept what is done to them. You'll have a broader perspective that will support your clients in their own decision-making processes. You'll better understand your place in this system and how it clashes or conforms with the obstetric oppression of women.


2.  Trauma basics

  • In this learning unit, you'll be introduced to the five types of trauma that may be affecting your clients. You'll learn how trauma is defined and diagnosed and how working with trauma survivors can impact your own well-being. You'll learn about the four categories of traumatic symptoms and the four main types of traumatic responses. This unit helps you to understand your clients and prepares you to respond with trauma-informed skills This will help to remove negative bias and stigma that plagues survivors and hinders their recovery.


3. Traumatic changes in the brain

  • Trauma creates structural and functional changes in the brain, primarily in the limbic system, which helps to explain many of the symptoms of trauma. Trauma is essentially a brain injury and responds to many recovery strategies that are specific for traumatic brain injuries. This section will introduce you to the impact of trauma on the brain and will help you to better understand the reactions and behaviours of your clients who have experienced trauma. You'll better understand why conventional pharmacologic treatment for PPMDs are often ineffective for PP-PTSD.


4. Understanding triggers

  • Triggers keep the sufferer locked in a loop of traumatic pain and responses. You'll learn how internal and external triggers affect the sufferer and how you can work with clients to manage them.


5. The consequences of trauma

  • The consequences of trauma can be dire. From a traumatic brain injury to increased risk for suicide. We'll review the scientific literature on how victims and survivors of trauma are often left dealing with issues of identity, cognition, ability to work, impaired coping strategies, health concerns, intimate partner violence, increased child neglect, and more. This takes a resilience-based approach, meaning the impact of trauma is specific to the individual and can be mediated by resilience based care.


6. Secondary wounding

  • Secondary wounding can be more damaging than the original traumatic injury. You'll learn he seven categories of secondary wounding and will be equipped to examine and modify your own behaviour to limit the potential for harming your clients.


7. What creates an 'at risk' client?

  • Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD. There are significant risk factors that increase the potential for developing PTSD. In this section, you'll explore the significance of childhood abuse, ACEs, prior sexual violence, and current abuse in the development of PTSD. Rape Trauma Syndrome can be exacerbated by routine maternity services and you'll end this session with goals and strategies for working with clients in a way that doesn't trigger a re-enactment of a previous sexual assault. You'll examine the role of our technocratic birth model in the perpetuation or the resolution of cyclical abuse patterns.


8. Nutrition and the at-risk brain

  • You'll learn about the role of inflammation in the development of PTSD and which substances in the common diet compromise brain structures and which nutrients are neuro-protective. This information is pertinent to not only clients, but also to all maternity workers, as they grapple with high levels of secondary trauma. 


9. Defining a traumatic birth

  • Research has provided us with the answers as to what turns a disappointing birth into a traumatic birth. You'll discover the four themes of the traumatic experience and what specific behaviours on the part of the maternity team contribute to it. You'll be able to begin modifying your behaviours, language, and interactions with your clients to ensure you are not a traumatising element in their birth. 


10. Recognising obstetrical violence

  • Obstetric violence is what happens to the client. In this last section you'll learn about each of the seven categories of institutional abuse and the specific behaviours that are defined as abusive within each category. With clear information, you can immediately analyse implicit biases, colonialism, patriarchy, and narcissism in maternity services and choose to be part of the solution.

Workshop Fee

Contact us for more information

Upcoming Workshop

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

Join us at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario for this 2 day intensive. Enrolment is limited.

Registration details coming soon.

9am - 5pm

Hamilton, Ontario

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Register now: Part One Foundations in Trauma-Informed Care

C$ 514.15
Pay with PayPal or a debit/credit card

A two day intensive at McMaster University's historic and beautiful campus in Hamilton, Ontario. Located in Peter George Center for Living and Learning, McMaster's newest building, providing a stunning learning space suited to today's learners. Lecture room M24.


Enrolment is limited so register today to reserve your spot.


Due to the nature of birth work, all tickets are transferrable.