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Trauma-Informed Care

One-on-One with Specialist Dr. Tami DeCoteau

Co-Director of Mountain Plains ATTC, Thomasine Heitkamp, interviews a national expert on trauma informed care, Dr. Tami DeCoteau, who offers insight to providers and educators interested in gaining a deeper understanding of trauma, including content on historical trauma and adverse childhood experiences. This 60-minute video interview presentation created by Mountain Plains ATTC is designed as a professional learning tool to explore how trauma affects the human population.

The science of trauma-informed care compells us to look more deeply into the human physiological process and understand how DNA provides evidence of intergenerational trauma. Recent research has shown that emotional trauma often affects the human nervous system long-term. Study of epigenetic DNA demonstrates that the substance use disorder need for self-regulation via alcohol or drugs is actually a physiological process and not a moral choice. This video will address questions such as:

  • What is trauma informed care?
  • How do we help society to recognize that substance use disorder is a chronic disease and must be treated as such?
  • Why do we see intergenerational effects of trauma within certain communities or families?

The production is conveniently separated into topic modules with designated time codes to allow viewers to determine which subjects will be reviewed and how much time is necessary to cover each area of discussion.


Tami DeCoteau, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. DeCoteauTami DeCoteau obtained a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology in 2003 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with specialization in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders for adults, adolescents, and children. She has extensive experience working with patients who suffer from complex trauma, neurodevelopmental disorders, grief, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thinking.

Her private practice in downtown Bismarck, North Dakota, is DeCoteau Trauma-Informed Care and Practice, PLLC, an outpatient facility where she heads a team of eight specialists in various fields of mental health. Dr. DeCoteau is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) practitioner. TBRI is a therapeutic model that trains caregivers to provide effective support for at-risk children. She is also trained in various trauma treatment modalities, including WEMDR, somatic processing, attachment intervention, neurosequential model of therapeutics (NMT) and TF-CBT.

Dr. DeCoteau has worked in a variety of outpatient settings and with a diverse patient population, including Veterans and Native Americans. She has given numerous lectures on how trauma impacts attachment and brain development, in-school strategies for working with traumatized children, and historical trauma. She is a long-standing member of the American Psychological Association, an enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation and a descendant of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Thomasine Heitkamp, LICSW
Director, Mountain Plains ATTC/Region 8
Professor, University of North Dakota College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines

Ms. HeitkampThomasine Heitkamp is the Co-Director of Mountain Plains Addiction Technology Transfer Center (MPATTC) that serves the six states in SAMHSA's Region 8. She is also the Region 8 Administrator for the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) grant to advance technical assistance for prevention and treatment of opioid use disorders. She is a Professor in the College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines at the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in North Dakota. She has been an educator and administrator at the University of North Dakota for more than thirty years. Professor Heitkamp has served in a myriad of administrative capacities at UND, including her recent work as an Associate Provost and Chair of the Graduate Nursing Program. She has numerous publications and presentations describing her professional work including a recent study on the impact of the oil industry on interpersonal violence in the oil fields of Montana 


Topic Modules  |  Time Codes

Section I – Intro and General Overview                                            00:00 (10 min 54 sec)                          
  • Definition and Explanation
  • Triggers
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Addressing Trauma
  • Brain Development
  • Complex Developmental Trauma
  • Trauma and Addiction
Section II -- Treatment for Secondary Trauma                                  10:54 (11 min 9 sec)
  • Self-Regulation Skills
  • Brain and Nervous System
  • Epigenetics Research
  • Integrated Care
  • Returning Veterans
  • Strategies for Self-Regulation                                                         
Section III -- Evidence-Based Practices in Tribal Communities         22:03 (6 min 1 sec)
  • Boarding Schools
  • Relationship Trauma
  • Intergenerational Effects
  • Federal Legislation
  • National Healthcare Model
Section IV – Integrated Trauma-Informed Care                                28:04 (13 min 56 sec)
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Big Ts and Little Ts                 
Section V – Moving Forward                                                              42:00 (17 min 39 sec)
  • Education and Collaboration
  • Role of Technology
  • Clinical Advancements
  • Specialties
  • Wrap-Up


Full Video