How Do Child Therapists Provide Trauma Treatment For Kids?
Trauma can negatively affect kids' emotional and mental growth if it is not treated. Fortunately, child therapists can provide trauma treatment for kids. Here are four techniques used to help kids and adolescents deal with various types of trauma:
1. Provide a safe space where kids can open up about their traumatic experiences.
Talking about trauma can be difficult, even for adults. It can be even more difficult for kids who may not have the emotional and verbal language to express themselves. Kids may feel ashamed of their trauma, which can make them hesitant to speak about their experiences. The primary job of the child therapist is to create a safe space for children. When kids feel safe and respected, they're more likely to open up about serious topics, such as abuse and trauma. Child therapists can help kids open up by encouraging kids to draw out their feelings or to express them through play therapy.
2. Help kids to understand and contextualize their traumatic experiences.
Some traumatic experiences may be difficult for kids to understand, especially if they're very young. Adults' reactions to kids' trauma can be retraumatizing in some cases, especially if adults have outsized negative reactions to kids' stories. Child therapists can explain a child's experiences to them, using language appropriate for their developmental stage. The ability to contextualize their experiences can help kids regain a sense of power over their emotions and trauma.
3. Encourage kids to speak to parents, teachers, and other trusted adults in their lives.
Weekly therapy sessions can help kids process their trauma in healthy ways. However, most children will require additional support outside of therapy. Child therapists can encourage kids to speak about their trauma to safe adults in their lives. A child's therapist may also coach parents on the best way to respond to their child's disclosures without letting their own anger or sadness exacerbate the situation. Through this work, therapists can help kids build a strong and beneficial support system.
4. Monitor kids for symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Children who undergo trauma may be more likely to develop anxiety and depression in the future. As part of a child's trauma therapy, a trauma therapist may continue to monitor your child for symptoms of anxiety and depression. By catching these conditions early, kids can receive appropriate treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and antidepressants are two effective methods of treating anxiety disorders and depression.