Is Your Child Emotionally Suffering After A Recent Trauma?

Kid Looking Out of Frame Sadly

Has your child been through a difficult life event that has left them struggling with overwhelming sadness, anxiety, or intense fear? Are you worried by a sudden change in your child’s ability to function emotionally and physically? Perhaps your child’s school performance is starting to suffer. Or they may have stopped spending time with family or friends when they used to be chatty and social. 

Even if the traumatic event itself is over and in the past, it may not feel that way for your child. To them, it can seem as if it’s reoccurring all the time. As a result, they may suffer distressing emotional and physical symptoms, such as nightmares, anger, difficulty concentrating, bedwetting, flashbacks, or separation anxiety. 

You might know your child has been through a traumatic event—such as the loss of a loved one, physical or sexual abuse, bullying, the separation or divorce of parents, or a natural disaster. Or maybe you noticed a change in your child’s thinking and behavior, but there doesn’t seem to be an obvious cause. And the lack of clarity around why your child is suffering has left you feeling alone, confused, and powerless to help. 

When a child suffers from trauma, it affects the whole family. At Caring Cove, we address all your questions and concerns so you don’t feel like you’re going through this alone.

Children Are Not Exempt From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Kid sad head in hands in windowTrauma is common in both adults and children. And while many people think of PTSD as an issue that only affects adults, the truth is that up to 15 percent of girls and 6 percent of boys develop PTSD.* For children, an unexpected event can quickly throw everything off-kilter, changing how they think, feel, and behave. After trauma, some children may shut down verbally and emotionally immediately, while others may have a delay in the onset of symptoms.

As a parent, you may not know whether you should bring up what happened or avoid talking about it. Thankfully, a licensed trauma therapist can help you understand your child’s needs and support their recovery in a healthy, effective way.

Evidence-Based Trauma Therapy Is Proven To Work

At Caring Cove, we specialize in evidence-based trauma treatment methods that have been shown to help children and families recover. Even if your child does not forget what happened, they can go back to functioning in a healthy way. While the old way of life they were used to before the traumatic event may not be possible, they can establish a new normal where the experience doesn’t control how they think, feel, or behave.

In order to determine the best treatment for your child, we will first complete an intake to see what symptoms are getting in the way of your child living their best life. From there, we will discuss why your child is experiencing certain symptoms and identify next steps for treatment.  

By tailoring our treatment approach to your child’s unique needs, we’re able to offer personalized coping strategies and concrete steps you and your child can use to find fast relief and lasting healing.

At Caring Cove, we incorporate a range of proven trauma treatment models according to your child’s needs.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is the gold standard for treating children with trauma histories. It has been shown to successfully decrease trauma symptoms and help children return to normal life routines. The owner of Caring Cove, Dr. Anderson, is one of few therapists in Morris and Essex County in New Jersey who has received her certification in this more specialized and effective form of cognitive behavioral therapy for trauma.

The Attachment Regulation and Competency (ARC) framework was designed for children with complex trauma histories. ARC focuses on strengthening attachment and your support system, helping your child identify, express and cope with their emotions, as well as developing your child’s sense of self. When your child is able to communicate their emotions and needs clearly, they can find relief, bolster their self-esteem, and better connect with you, the parent. ARC not only aims to address trauma symptoms, but also to increase resiliency.

Game-Based Cognitive Behavior Therapy (GB-CBT) uses structured, therapeutic games to help children talk about what happened and express their emotions in a clear, healthy way. GB-CBT can help your child process their past traumatic experiences, learn coping skills and further expand communication and personal safety skills.

Across treatment models, your child will have the opportunity to talk about what happened in a safe space and without fear of judgment. They will learn how to use healthy coping mechanisms for moments when trauma “triggers” occur, so they can feel empowered instead of fearful. And we will work with you, the parent, to help you develop strategies for supporting your child’s wellbeing and future. 

You May Have Some Concerns About Trauma Therapy…

Will therapy be re-traumatizing for my child?

It might seem counterintuitive at first to have your child talk about what happened when the memory has been the source of so many problems. At Caring Cove, we use evidence-based treatments that have been shown to reduce trauma symptoms and provide relief. Before we ask your child to explore the source of their trauma, we prepare you, the parent, to manage your child’s symptoms. With your permission, we can also consult with your child’s teachers about how to deal with symptoms in the classroom. 

The most important thing is that your child remains in therapy. It’s possible that symptoms may briefly increase before your child finds lasting relief. But if that happens and you stop therapy, it can confirm your child’s belief that the trauma is too scary to talk about and associated symptoms will not get better.

I want my child to just forget about what happened.  

You are not alone. Parents frequently say this exact statement to us. However, refusing to talk about a trauma does not mean your child will forget about it. If your child tries to put the trauma behind them without truly processing it, the experience can continue to affect them long into their adult life. 

Think of it like having a cut on your hand; you can put a band-aid on and try to forget about it, but if you don’t clean the cut, it can get infected. Disinfecting the wound can sting a little in the beginning, but it’s the fastest and most effective way to heal. Talking about the trauma in therapy is like cleaning out the cut. While it may be difficult at first, it’s an important step in finding lasting relief and preventing the trauma from becoming a bigger issue down the road.

Can I bring my child to you if they haven’t had a trauma, but I need help teaching about body parts, healthy sexuality, and Okay vs. Not Okay touches?

Yes. Many parents do not know when or how to start conversations about healthy sexuality with their children. At Caring Cove, we are experienced at helping parents have these developmentally appropriate conversations. We can also help you understand and identify “red flag” behaviors in children that are linked to abuse. Education is the key to the prevention of abuse.

Trauma Therapy Can Help Your Child Heal

If you are ready to meet with a child psychologist, we invite you to call Caring Cove at 973-370-9944 for a free 15-minute consultation to see if we are a good fit for working together.