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Trauma-informed care in nutrition. Presented by Jacinta Sherlock APD

Trauma-informed care in nutrition

Offering safety for all clients

This is a big topic, yes and it’s one that is relevant to ALL clinicians who work with people. Jacinta Sherlock APD introduces trauma-informed care in nutrition with a clear rationale for its relevance and tangible applications to practice. So, a big topic made accessible and relevant to us.

"Trauma is a state of high arousal. It is an event or events in which a person is threatened or feels threatened. The experience of trauma overwhelms the person’s capacity to cope" - Blue Knot Foundation, 2021

Trauma is common. The Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS) is a landmark Australian study of the prevalence of child maltreatment demonstrated that 32.2% of people experienced at least one form of childhood maltreatment. This has implication for health behaviours, risk factors and chronic disease risk. So, it is likely that, as dietitians, we will daily work with individuals for whom trauma-informed care is meaningful.  

Understanding the physiological processes involved gives us the groundwork for recognising how trauma can show up in clinic. The HPA axis, the Vagus Nerve and Polyvagal Theory are a few of the systems explored. Nervous system safety and regulation is key. All of the ways we can be considerate of this become apparent; our role in trauma-informed care starts to take shape.  

Trauma-informed principles inform trauma-informed care.  They are:  

  1. Safety
  2. Trust
  3. Choice
  4. Collaboration
  5. Empowerment

Jacinta offers examples of how this applies to our practice, helping us to avoid re-traumatisation and support engagement.  

Exploring these ideas in supervision or within our workplace teams will be the extension to learning that brings this content into your context and skillset; opening up opportunities for further learning, compassionate reflection and professional growth.

Jacinta Sherlock (they/them) is a specialised trauma informed, mental health and eating disorders dietitian with 8+ years of experience in public and private mental health.  Jacinta runs Dietetics Done Differently, a private practice clinic, known for its capacity to identify processes impacting on eating behaviour and use therapeutically informed interventions to improve nutritional intake within an extended scope of practice.

Jacinta shares a moment for reflection here