A trauma-informed approach

Our practices stem from our trauma-informed approach.

In the Underground Lights collective, whether we are trustees, staff members, volunteers or group members we have many different lived experiences. But for the majority of us, we have had bad experiences in our lives (as children or adults or both) and this has led to trauma.


Trauma can make you feel like you are stuck and trapped. It can make you feel like you are doomed to repeat the same things over and over again. Trauma can also be caused by bad experiences with services (or working for those services), diagnoses that feel like limiting labels and structural discrimination eg. of racism within services.

When we experience trauma we can feel

disempowered, invisible, abandoned, ashamed, guilty, angry and scared.

For those of us with complex trauma, this has led to highly effective ways of coping with everyday life in order to survive. This might include behaviours that are pathologised by services eg. seeing, hearing or smelling things that others can’t, dissociative identities or self-harm. For some, the trauma has then led to behaviours that have caused harm to others – they have become perpetrators of violence and abuse themselves. This in turn leads to more feelings of guilt, shame and the feeling of having a ‘past’ they will never escape from.

That’s the Underground.

So where are the Lights?