Trust is a crucial part of trauma counselling. It's not just that a counsellor needs to be able to trust their clients, but also that the client has to trust the counsellor. Here are some ways that you can build and maintain trust with your clients in order to ensure everyone gets the best results possible out of therapy sessions.

Building Trust Versus Maintaining Trust

The trust between a counsellor and their client is important in trauma counselling. Trust is a two-way street, however, and it can be difficult to maintain a relationship when both parties are not present in the same physical space.

In the digital age, it's easier than ever before to lie or misrepresent yourself online, but also easier than ever before for you as a counsellor to verify someone's identity! The trick is knowing how best to use these tools so that you can build trust with your clients without sacrificing privacy or security.

Applying the "Means What it Says, and Says What it Means" Rule

The "means what it says and says what it means" rule is a good way to think about how you communicate with clients. According to Incentive Counselling, this rule can help keep you from using words that can be misinterpreted, being ambiguous, or using sarcasm.

  • Be clear about what you mean: When you're talking to clients about their trauma history or current situation, use concrete language that doesn't leave room for interpretation (e.g., "The car crashed into your house at 3 AM"). If there are specific actions in question (e.g., reporting), give very clear instructions as to what should happen next (e.g., "Please call 911 right now").
  • Don't use words that can be misinterpreted: Some words have multiple meanings depending on the context, for example, the word "empowerment" could mean self-empowerment or empowerment by others; if this is unclear in your writing or conversation with clients then they may get confused about what exactly is happening in therapy sessions!

Showing Up on Time

So you're meeting with a client for the first time. They're nervous, and so are you. You've never done this before and they don't know what to expect. In fact, they may not even trust that their counsellor will show up at all!

The first thing that builds trust is showing up on time (or early). If there are any doubts in your client's mind about whether or not they can count on you as a counsellor, and especially if they've had negative experiences with other people in authority roles, this can be one of the most essential things in building trust right off the bat.

Keeping Records Secure

Keeping records secure is an important part of being a trauma counsellor. It's also something that can be challenging to do in the digital age, where we are constantly connected and our data is more vulnerable than ever before.

Here are some tips for keeping your clients' records safe:

  • Back up your computer regularly, and make sure you have backups stored somewhere else! If your computer breaks down or gets stolen, you'll want to be able to reaccess all of those files..
  • Never share passwords with anyone else (even other members of your team). Passwords should only be used by one person, so that if someone gets hold of them they only have access as far as their own account goes, not everything else on your system too!
  • Keep private information confidential by not leaving it lying around at work or sharing it via email or instant messaging programs such as Skype & WhatsApp etcetera...

Establishing Boundaries

As a counsellor, it's important to establish boundaries with your clients. Boundaries are the lines that we draw between ourselves and others. They help us maintain our own sense of self and define what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior from others. Establishing boundaries can be tricky because they're different for everyone, and they can change over time too!

In counselling sessions, it might feel like there are no real rules other than getting through the session as quickly as possible so you can get paid at the end (this is especially true if you're working under private insurance). But establishing clear expectations around what is expected from both parties will help create trust in therapy right away!

Community Involvement

Community involvement is an important part of building trust in your clients. The more you can help them connect with the community, the more likely they will feel safe and supported.

Talking about how you can get involved in the local community is also important because it shows that you care about what's going on around you, and it gives them an opportunity to share their own stories as well!

In addition, there are many ways of getting involved:

  • Volunteer at your local food bank or soup kitchen (if there is one) by donating time or money, helping prepare meals/clean up afterward, etc.,
  • Join a sports team or recreational activity clubs like a hiking club or dance class...the list goes on!

Trust is important in trauma counselling

Trust is important in trauma counselling. It's essential for the therapeutic relationship, and it helps your client feel safe and comfortable, heard and understood.

In order to build this kind of trust, you have to be trustworthy yourself, and that means being honest about what you know, don't know, or can't do; letting clients know when they've crossed boundaries (for example, by sharing too much personal information); being consistent with your approach; modelling positive behaviour such as patience when things get stressful...the list goes on!


Trust is an important part of trauma counselling, and it can be hard to rebuild if you have broken it. Trust is something that needs to be earned over time, so don't expect immediate results when you first start working with clients. It's important to remember that trust is both a tool for building relationships with clients as well as maintaining them once they're established.