Two women embracing with their eyes closed, with the words "trauma-informed content" in the background, representing trauma-sensitive drug rehab marketing.

Trauma-Informed Content: Holding Safe Space With Words

Addiction is traumatic. When readers land on your site, many of them are actively in crisis. That can make it hard for them to process new information. So how can you keep them engaged?

Trauma-informed content makes it possible for readers to connect with your rehab. Certain strategies let you address difficult issues without triggering your readers, or causing outright harm. Use these tips to hold safe space for your ideal clients.

Respect Their Autonomy

Addiction and trauma can undermine your sense of autonomy. Your audience might feel distant from their emotions and even their identities. They might also get triggered by any language that sounds like a command. Trauma-informed drug rehab marketing meets readers where they are, instead of telling them what to do.

DO:

  • Share well-researched information about trauma symptoms.
  • Empower readers to make their own decisions.

DON’T:

  • Tell readers how they feel.
  • Use forceful or judgmental words like “should” or “must.”

Simplify Your Language

PTSD can cause flashbacks and vivid memories of painful events. Your readers probably don’t need help accessing their feelings. They might even be looking for treatment because they want to practice emotion regulation.

And yet, great content is emotionally compelling. Because trauma affects your attention span, these readers won’t stick around to read a wall of dry, clinical text. So how do you connect with your audience and avoid triggering them?

DO:

  • Use simple, straightforward language.
  • Write in short sentences.
  • Break up content into shorter sections with scannable subheadings.
  • Use visuals like images and bulleted lists.
  • Define acronyms and clinical terms.

DON’T:

  • Share graphic descriptions of trauma or violence.
  • Use euphemisms that sanitize what they’ve been through.

Hold Space for a Diverse Audience

At some point in their lives, most people experience trauma. That includes your potential clients, their loved ones, and referring clinicians. They could be veterans, assault survivors, people with childhood trauma and more. High-quality drug rehab marketing holds space for all readers.

DO:

  • Share detailed information about your program, including which types of trauma you treat.
  • Use specific language to describe different types of trauma.
  • Distinguish between survivors of traumatic events and people with trauma symptoms, PTSD, or c-PTSD.

DON’T:

  • Make assumptions about what readers have been through.
  • Imply that everyone develops the same symptoms in response to the same types of trauma.
  • Perpetuate stereotypes about who’s vulnerable to different types of trauma.
  • Objectify perpetrators of interpersonal violence. Many of them are also trauma survivors who need treatment.

Go Beyond Drug Rehab Marketing Cliches

Cliches are invalidating. They exist for a reason, and many of them have kernels of truth. But most trauma survivors have heard the same statements so many times, they no longer mean anything. Take this prime example:

It wasn’t your fault.

Survivors of sexual assault hear this phrase over and over again. It’s a true statement. It also responds to a very real psychological issue: most survivors blame themselves. But this idea is so overused that it no longer sounds like an authentic response. Instead, it comes off as a platitude.

Emotionally compelling content goes deeper. Look for ways to express support without being trite.

DO:

  • Acknowledge that everyone’s experience is different.
  • Share actionable content that can help readers plan for the future.
  • Recognize the nuances of conflicting emotions.

DON’T:

  • Repeat cliches, even if they’re true.
  • Spend too much time talking about your readers’ feelings.
  • Promise that everyone can heal their trauma symptoms.

Share Relevant Resources

Anyone can land on your site. That includes people in emergency situations. Some of your readers might even be in physical danger.

If you mention any type of violence, direct readers to get immediate help if they need it. This applies to content about domestic violence, sexual assault, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and more. Sometimes, this means linking readers to external resources. You can easily do that without directing traffic to your competitors’ sites.

DO:

DON’T:

  • Bury important links and phone numbers in body text.
  • Encourage people in immediate danger to call non-emergency numbers, including your admissions office.
  • Link directly to your competitors’ sites.

Be Transparent

Trauma makes it hard to trust new information. If you’re constantly on high alert for the next threat, you might mistrust what you read online.

False promises—or anything that sounds like a false promise—can trigger trauma survivors. These readers will bounce off your page the minute they think you’re stretching the truth. Keep them engaged with concrete information. The more you can demystify treatment, the safer they’ll feel. And for clients with trauma, feeling safe is a prerequisite for even calling your center.

DO:

  • Face hard truths head-on.
  • Share factual, straightforward details about what happens in treatment.
  • Include data to back up any claims you make.
  • With their consent, share alumni testimonials.

DON’T:

  • Gloss over how painful and complex recovery can be.
  • Exaggerate any details about your program.
  • Promise that treatment will have a specific outcome.

A trauma-informed approach makes your drug rehab marketing more accessible. Contact us to grow your audience and connect with the readers who need you the most.

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