What Is a Traumatic Event?
Children and adults can experience traumatic stress when exposed to shocking or frightening events or situations that overwhelm their ability to cope. More than two thirds of children report experiencing or witnessing at least one traumatic event by age 16.
Common traumatic events include:
What is Traumatic Stress?
Children and adults who have been exposed to one or more traumas can develop reactions that vary and could linger long after the traumatic event has ended. These responses can range from mild to severely disruptive and can include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Common signs of traumatic stress by age range include:
- Young Children: separation anxiety, excessive crying, feeding problems, sleeping problems, developmental delays, anger/aggression
- School-aged Children: anxiety and fear, feelings of guilt, attention problems, sleeping problems, anger/aggression, withdrawal
- Adolescents and Adults: depression or anxiety, feelings of guilt, substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harming, risky behaviors, anger/aggression, withdrawal
The impact of child traumatic stress can lead to learning, behavioral, and health problems that last a lifetime. But with a strong support system and access to effective and age-appropriate treatments and services, children and families do recover from traumatic stress.
A number of evidence-based treatments (EBTs) have demonstrated success in reducing symptoms in children and adults and improving coping mechanisms of families. ARBEST offers services and training in the following evidence-based treatments:
- Child-parent psychotherapy (CPP) is an evidence-based treatment for trauma-exposed children (ages 0-5) that has demonstrated success in reducing emotional and behavioral difficulties, enhancing safe caregiving practices, and strengthening the parent-child relationship.
- Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) is an evidence-based treatment for young children (ages 2-7) with disruptive behavior, including those with a history of trauma, that has been shown to reduce behavior problems, strengthen parent-child attachment, and improve child trauma symptoms.
- Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is an an evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents (ages 3-18) who have experienced trauma that has been shown to successfully resolve emotional and behavioral difficulties associated with trauma.
- Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a highly-effective cognitive-behavioral treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for adults (ages 14+). that has been shown to effectively reduce post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms related to a variety of traumatic events.