Trigger warning: this video includes discussions of trauma, rape, intimate partner violence, and abortion which may trigger intense emotional responses. Please take care of yourself if you decide to watch.

This 55-minute presentation by Dr. Carmen Landau, a physician at Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will immediately change the way you provide care if you are a medical provider. As a patient, it will empower you to seek a higher standard of care from your medical provider(s).

She challenges the group to think about what constitutes trauma. Must it be penetrative? Must it hurt? She discusses emotional and physical triggers and their impact on health.

“Many times the patients that are most ‘difficult’ are those who’ve had sexual trauma. She isn’t hard, she’s had a hard life…the body of a survivor remembers those traumatic experiences…she knows that other providers have found her to be a hard patient, so if you change the way you see her, then maybe she’ll change the way she sees herself in that dynamic.”

In the latter part of the presentation, Dr. Landau goes through techniques (open communication and non-triggering language, patient participation, sedation, speculum placement) to reduce pain and anxiety in the setting of gynecological, obstetric, or abortion care. “We’re asking people to tell us when they’re not comfortable in this setting and in other settings, but then we have to actually listen when they tell us.”

This video is part of a series of recordings from HIVE’s trauma symposium, “Beyond Compassion: Caring for Women with a History of Trauma.”