There are 3 fantastic therapy approaches for childhood trauma. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), roughly two-thirds of adolescents and teens report experiencing at least one traumatic event by the age of 16. Luckily, a qualified therapist can help kids navigate and process their emotions related to the trauma.
Ramifications of Childhood Trauma
Whether it’s physical or sexual abuse, emotional neglect, bullying (including cyber), homelessness, or the sudden loss of a loved one, childhood trauma leaves a lasting impact on the child and even the adult they grow into. While everyone handles trauma differently, there are some common symptoms experienced by most. These include:
- Anxiety (especially separation anxiety)
- Trouble sleeping and increasing nightmares
- Acting out
- Loss of appetite
- Becoming easily angry or aggressive
- Withdrawing from friends and social activities
- Problems concentrating
- Self-harming behaviors
3 Therapy Approaches to Childhood Trauma
As I mentioned, there are treatment options that can help kids decrease their symptoms and learn how to cope with triggers.
1. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is related to the more well-known cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and is a go-to treatment for many therapists when addressing the effects of PTSD. With this particular treatment approach, a therapist will help the child or adult process the trauma as well as offer tools to identify and address negative thinking related to traumatic events.
2. Family Therapy
Family therapy is a system approach that looks at how the entire family can support the child through their trauma. Help is given to parents to learn how to talk about the trauma with their child and provide a sense of security and safety. Resources throughout the extended family and family network are explored for healing for the child. It is important the the traumatized child knows that they are not alone and that their parents are a safe harbor.
3. Play therapy
For very young children that have experienced trauma, it can be intimidating to open up and vocalize their thoughts and emotions. Using the therapeutic power of play, therapists help children as young as 3 work through their trauma.
If you or someone you love has experienced trauma in childhood and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I’d be happy to discuss how therapy can help you move through the pain and live your best life.
I offer a free, 20-minute phone consultation to see if I am the right therapist for you or your family.