Childhood trauma can result from acute or prolonged emotionally or physically threatening experiences, including abuse or neglect, accidents, illness, familial conflict, loss, or discrimination. Traumatized children may feel overwhelmed, helpless, or shocked and have difficulty processing their experiences. Signs of trauma include prolonged anger, sadness, or fear; numbness; nightmares or flashbacks; irritability; and frequent upset.
Through treatment, children can carry traumatic memories less painfully. Any good therapy for trauma starts with a “trauma-informed therapist.” Trauma-informed practice principles include: recognizing trauma and can bear witness to it; creating a safe space with structure and predictability; collaborating with children and their families; drawing on their clients’ strength and resilience; and being sensitive to issues of culture, ethnicity, gender, and identity.