Trauma Counselling & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

All children and adolescents experience stressful events which can affect them both emotionally and physically. Their reactions to stress are usually brief, and they recover without further problems. A child or adolescent who experiences a catastrophic event may develop ongoing difficulties known as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The stressful or traumatic event involves a situation where someone’s life has been threatened or severe injury has occurred (ex. they may be the victim or a witness of physical abuse, sexual abuse, violence in the home or in the community, automobile accidents, natural disasters (such as flood, fire, earthquakes), and being diagnosed with a life threatening illness). A child’s risk of developing PTSD is related to the seriousness of the trauma, whether the trauma is repeated, the child’s proximity to the trauma, and his/her relationship to the victim(s).

What are Indicators of PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can develop after a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • reliving the traumatic event
  • flashbacks or nightmares associated with the traumatic event
  • regression in behaviour (i.e. in a young child may be regression to younger-child behaviour such as bed-wetting)
  • difficulty with sleep
  • increased feelings of worry and sadness
  • may become more clingy to care-givers
  • avoiding reminders or memories of the traumatic event
  • feeling numb emotionally
  • anxiety

Treatment for Trauma and PTSD

Support from parents, school, and peers is important. Emphasis needs to be placed upon establishing a feeling of safety. Psychological intervention (individual, group, or family) which allows the child to speak, draw, play, or write about the event is helpful. Behaviour modification techniques and cognitive therapy may help reduce fears and worries.

 

If your child/adolescent or family has experienced a recent trauma and are experiencing difficulty coping please give us a call on 3341 3619 to find out how we can help.