Child Stress and Trauma, Family Violence Play Therapy

Child Stress and Trauma, Family Violence

Children today are exposed to much more trauma than we were twenty or thirty years ago, and that's why child trauma counselling is such an important tool to help them cope. Once off events, such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, bullying, life-threatening illnesses, natural disasters, or war can leave a child scarred for life.

Long-term exposure to poverty, verbal abuse or milder types of abuse are traumatic too, in fact that can be as devastating to a child as a single catastrophic event.

As with adults, every child has a different way of dealing with similar circumstances or events. Not every person who experiences the same event will become traumatized, but exposure to trauma can result in a variety of symptoms including nightmares, bedwetting, anxiety, depression, disdain for authority, poor grades, moodswings, substance abuse, and self-harm.

Both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and a range of other therapies can be helpful in treating children who have been exposed to short term trauma. Therapists will usually work with the child on a one-on-one basis to help the child restructure negative thought patterns and self esteem (in the case of abuse, etc.) before calling in the family for family counselling. Family counselling is a great way for the family to find common ground, build problem-solving skills and to help the parents to re-establish themselves as the authority figures in the home.

If you are looking for a counsellor or psychologist with specialized traing in trauma counselling for children you may want to search the directory to find a professional whose approach will suit you best.

FIRST!  
If you or your children are in immediate danger or need urgent medical attention, contact the police or ambulance services by calling 911 or the emergency number for your community.

Family violence or domestic violence negatively impacts on families and the individuals who form part of it. It is one of the most common reasons why the average North American women aged younger than fifty seeks emergency medical care.

Domestic violence includes a single incident of pushing a close family member around, or slapping them. However, family violence can also be much more severe, and in some cases even fatal. It includes repeated incidents of violent outbursts, and could result in homicide. It is much more common than most people want to believe, and it can quickly escalate without intervention.

Family violence usually starts out with controlling behaviours, in which the abusive spouse will make all the decisions, while isolating the victim. There will be verbal abuse and threats. The abuse usually works in cycles where arguments and threats will start causing tension before the violence takes place. The violence will generally become more severe as time goes by. Afterwards, the couple will reunite as the perpetrator apologises profusely and makes promises that it will never happen again. However, the cycle will repeat until the victim finds help.

Unfortunately, victims are generally to afraid to seek help, and that's why they usually stay in abusive relationships. They may experience severe post-traumatic stress disorder, fear, low-self-esteem and abandonment issues that can impact on all areas of their lives and help is necessary. Therapy is a potent tool to help facilitate healing in children who have experienced family violence.

If you are looking for a counsellor or psychologist who offers therapy to address family violence issues you may want to search the directory to find a professional whose approach will suit you best.  Remember, if there is any immediate danger seek emergency assistance first.

Play Therapy

Play therapy uses the client's internal self-healing mechanisms to access unconscious and conscious experiences. The therapist forms a relationship with the client and encourages him or her to explore life events that affect his or her current life experience.

During play therapy, the therapist works at the client's pace. Talking is secondary to play in this form of therapy, and as such the client is encouraged to play while the therapist observes.

Play Therapy is suitable for adults too, as it helps them to relearn self-exploration, which enhances physical and cognitive behaviours. Play therapy gives children and adults freedom, increased creativity and life experience.

If you are looking for a therapist who offers Play Therapy, please browse our list of practitioners below..

Helen Ritchie

M.Ed., CCC
Helen Ritchie is  a Canadian Certified Counsellor, Certified Synergetic Play Therapist Supervisor,  and EMDR Therapist who sees children, youth, and parents in Vancouver. She is registered with the... Read more