Trauma Recovery Webquest


This Trauma Recovery Webquest is an interactive learning activity to increase awareness of how childhood or other trauma can cause  future mental health struggles.  It will help you answer this question:

How can people cope and recover after traumatic experiences that continue to affect them as adults?


Picture of a little girl

The Task

Imagine that you are a nurse, other health professional, or a community member who is concerned about a neighbor, family member, or friend whose behavior or mood has been affected by upsetting memories of trauma in their past.

A heart-wrenching video will be the beginning of  the scenario we will be using for discussion.  Our goal will be to find ways to help her or other adults with PTSD cope after having had adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) or other traumatic experiences.

Based on the information and resources provided, you will review many informational resources, a coping plan, and some handouts that can be helpful in the scenarios given.   Students can work in groups (if possible) to plan interventions and care.

You will be learning what Trauma-Informed Care is, and how it can change how you respond to people who have a history of trauma.  Even people who do not have a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnosis benefit from the concepts you will learn.

Your objectives are to:

  • Recognize 2 or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in video
  • List 2 or more common signs/symptoms of trauma or PTSD
  • Share personal insight into lived experiences of someone with a trauma history
  • Utilize tools to assess the “triggers” and preferences of people with past trauma)
  • Discuss and/or fill out Trauma Discussion Worksheet
  • List 2 or more benefits of trauma-informed care
  • Review available resources for recovery, coping, and trauma-informed care.
  • Plan treatment and/or health education for a person who is struggling with painful memories of past trauma.

This Webquest contains presentations, handouts, and discussion guides.  There is an optional care planning assignment for nursing students.  Students should follow their instructor’s guidance for which assignments are required.  Click for details on The Process and for many valuable resources:

The Process > > > >


Your performance may be evaluated by using a rubric on the evaluation tab. Grades for group work may be pass/no pass. A score of 8 or less, or lack of participation may be “no pass”. Any individual that did not participate with their group may receive an individual grade.

Evaluation Form [.pdf]

Conclusion and Discussion

  • After a traumatic experience, it’s normal to feel afraid, sad, anxious, and disconnected – It usually fades away with time
  • But sometimes people can be so overwhelmed that they feel “stuck” and have trouble getting back to their regular life, connecting with others, or feeling safe again
  • There may be a constant sense of danger with efforts to avoid the painful memories that come back as flashbacks or nightmares
  • Some parts of the memories may be missing, and your brain may be trying to “process” the memories
  • Intense physical reactions can happen when there are reminders of the distressing event

Trauma can shape people’s mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being. Because trauma can come from violence, abuse, neglect, disaster, war, etc., nearly every family is impacted in some way.  Trauma-informed care provides a new perspective when we shift from asking, “What is wrong with you?” to “What has happened to you?” This change reduces the blame and shame that some people feel when have symptoms or a diagnosis of mental illness.

Recovery can happen when people find ways to cope with their upsetting memories and reach out to a helpful support system.

Health care professionals can use their skills to recognize signs of a trauma history or PTSD.  However, since almost everyone has had some trauma in their lives, it is helpful to always provide care in a safe and healing way.  That awareness and the ability to prevent re-traumatization are key benefits of trauma informed care.

Why is it important for nurses and other health professionals to recognize past or present trauma ?

Most people seeking behavioral health services and other public services, such as homeless and domestic violence services, have histories of physical and sexual abuse and other types of traumatic experiences. These experiences often lead to mental health and co-occurring problems like chronic health conditions, substance abuse, eating disorders, and involvement in the criminal justice

What are Some Benefits of Trauma-Informed Care?

Trauma-informed care is when care is given with an understanding of potential “triggers” of trauma survivors. Traditional health care may actually make them more fearful and vulnerable.   Services and programs can become more supportive and understanding. Be careful to avoid further trauma.  By empowering people to understand how the past impacts the present, they can make progress toward healing and recovery.

You can make the shift to trauma-informed care!


Developed and Published by:
May Knutson, RN, PHN, MSN
President of Health Vista, Inc.
305 N 2nd Street
La Crescent, MN 55947

Credits & References for conclusion:

Some information originally retrieved from a webpage that is no longer available. Similar information is available at


Teachers: Click here  (under construction)


Updated 1-19-21