Restored Wings (RW), A Home for Healing
Sensory Rooms in Trauma-Informed Care

Healing Spaces: The Role of Sensory Rooms in Trauma-Informed Care for Survivors of Human Trafficking

In the journey of recovery for survivors of human trafficking, creating safe and supportive environments rooted in Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) is crucial. One innovative approach gaining recognition in this realm is the use of sensory rooms. These specially designed spaces offer survivors a sanctuary for healing, offering carefully crafted sensory stimuli to promote relaxation, emotional regulation, and overall well-being.

The Role of Sensory Rooms in Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-Informed Care is one of the foundational principles of the RW program, guiding our approach to supporting survivors with empathy and empowerment. Sensory rooms align seamlessly with this philosophy, offering survivors a safe environment to control their sensory experiences. By incorporating elements such as gentle lighting and soothing sounds, these rooms provide opportunities for self-soothing, grounding, and regulation—essential skills in coping with trauma-related challenges.

Building the RW Sensory Room

With grant funding provided by the Creighton University’s Pharmacy & Health Professions’ Student Government, RW was able to realize the vision of a sensory room tailored to the unique needs of trafficking survivors. Under Dr. Andrea Thinnes’s guidance and with dedicated students from the Creighton University Department of Occupational Therapy, the room fosters safety and empowerment. Every aspect, from colors to sensory tools, was carefully considered to provide solace and begin the healing journey within the Trauma-Informed Care framework.

Sensory Room, left wallThe Impact on Survivors

For survivors of human trafficking, the road to recovery can be fraught with challenges, including trauma-related triggers and difficulties in regulating emotions. The RW sensory room serves as a haven where survivors can retreat from overwhelming stimuli. Through gentle sensory experiences guided by Trauma-Informed principles, survivors cultivate mindfulness and develop coping strategies for managing stress and anxiety.

Empowering Recovery Through Sensory Exploration

Beyond its therapeutic benefits, the role of the sensory room in trauma-informed care is to provide a feeling of empowerment on their path to recovery within the Trauma-Informed framework. By providing agency over sensory experiences, it becomes a space where survivors can reclaim control and autonomy. With guided exploration and support, survivors learn to trust their instincts and build resilience, supported by Trauma-Informed principles.

Looking Ahead

The sensory room at RW will continue to evolve and adapt to meet residents’ needs with ongoing support. We’ll introduce new materials and therapies based on feedback and research, ensuring it remains a valuable resource for Trauma-Informed Care. Future Occupational Therapists and students will lead educational sessions in the sensory room, teaching residents how to use sensory materials for coping. Through workshops and activities, residents will gain self-regulation skills and deeper sensory understanding.

In Conclusion

In the journey of recovery for survivors of human trafficking, sensory rooms represent a beacon of hope—a tangible expression of Trauma-Informed Care principles in action. By offering survivors a safe space to explore their senses, regulate their emotions, and reclaim their autonomy, these innovative environments play a vital role in fostering healing and resilience. At RW, we are honored to be part of this transformative journey, standing alongside survivors as they embark on the path towards healing, growth, and empowerment within the Trauma-Informed framework.

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