Child Traumatic Stress
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network defines a traumatic event as “a frightening, dangerous, or violent event that poses a threat to a child’s life or bodily integrity. Witnessing a traumatic event that threatens life or physical security of a loved one can also be traumatic. This is particularly important for young children as their sense of safety depends on the perceived safety of their attachment figures.”
One way children heal is by having adults who care about them provide guidance, attention, and support in the aftermath of intimate partner domestic violence (IPV). The goal of FCR’s Child Exposed to Domestic Violence Services is to help children develop language that will allow them to express their feelings and process traumatic events so they can begin to heal.
Not all children exposed to IPV are affected equally or in the same ways. To learn more about the effects of IPV exposure on children log on to www.nctsn.org
When 5 year old Taylor first came to FCR for counseling, she had trouble walking through the door. She displayed tantrums each times she would arrive for a session and expressed not wanting to be “here” with this “strange lady”. She then proceeded to face the door the next few times she arrived for a session. She created a social barrier as to not engage with her clinician. Taylor had witnessed parental substance abuse and domestic violence perpetrated by her biological father from early childhood until age 5. Through time, patience and family involvement in sessions, the clinician was able to develop a therapeutic alliance with Taylor. She learned that her clinician was a safe adult who could be trusted. In time, Taylor would arrived excited for sessions and playfully run into her clinician’s office. It took time for Taylor to feel safe with her sessions and her clinician, but once trust was found, she was ready to engage, share her feelings and process her past trauma.
If you know a child who is dealing with trauma we are here to help. Call FCR at 508-583-6498