BLUE KNOT FOUNDATION
FACT SHEET: Understanding Trauma

Fact Sheet

• The word ‘trauma’ describes events and experiences which are so stressful that they are overwhelming.
• The word ‘trauma’ also describes the impacts of the experience/s. The impacts depend on a number of factors.
• People can experience trauma at any age. Many people experience trauma across different ages.
• Trauma can happen once, or it can be repeated. Experiences of trauma are common and can have many sources.
• Trauma can affect us at the time it occurs as well as later. If we don’t receive the right support, trauma can affect us right through our life.
• We all know someone who has experienced trauma. It can be a friend, a family member, a colleague, or a client… or it can be us.
• It can be hard to recognise that a person has experienced trauma and that it is still affecting them.
• Trauma is often experienced as emotional and physical harm. It can cause fear, hopelessness and helplessness.
• Trauma interrupts the connections (‘integration’) between different aspects of the way we function.
• Trauma can stop our body systems from working together. This can affect our mental and physical health and wellbeing.

• While people who experience trauma often have similar reactions, each person and their experience is unique.
• Trauma can affect whole communities. It can also occur between and across generations, e.g. the trauma of our First Nations people.
• For our First Nations people, colonisation and policies such as the forced removal of children shattered important bonds between families and kin and damaged people’s connection to land and place.
• Many different groups of people experience high levels of trauma. This includes refugees and asylum seekers, as well as women and children. This is not to deny that many men and boys also experienced trauma.
• Certain life situations and difference can make trauma more common. People with disability of all ages experience and witness trauma more often than people without disability. LGBTQI people also experience high levels of trauma which is often due to discrimination.


Blue Knot Helpline 1300 657 380 | blueknot.org.au | 02 8920 3611 | admin@blueknot.org.au

Families at Risk of Breakdown

Beacon House (UK)

“If a community values its children, it must cherish their parents” – John Bowlby, 1951

At Beacon House, we are passionate about working with networks who are supporting families at risk of breakdown, where children are identified as being ‘In Need’ or meeting criteria for child protection procedures. We also sometimes work directly with families (or their professional networks) where care proceedings have been initiated, where the parties are open in principle to supporting therapeutic intervention prior to a final hearing. Please note that this sometimes requires an extension to standard timescales, as long as this is safe for the child.

The role that we take is somewhat different from that of an independent expert; we commence every piece of work with an overarching question of “What would need to be put in place for everyone in this family to be safe, and have their needs well met?”

Our work is inspired and shaped by the pioneering writing and research of Dr Patricia Crittenden. Crittenden’s key text, ‘Raising Parents’, shines a light on attachment throughout the lifespan, and the impact of parents’ own early years and developmental experiences on their capacity to safely parent their own children.

“Supporting – cherishing – parents is central to caring for their children. Doing so makes emotional sense, functional sense, and economic sense; parents are the only resource that is never cut back. Moreover, they are the architects of society; let’s value all parents and assist those that need help” 

Patricia Crittenden, 2008.

We offer three different pathways for families at risk of breakdown – all with a primary focus of meeting the emotional and psychological needs of the caregiver, and facilitating them to do the same for their children:

  • Case Consultation to the Allocated Social Worker
  • Case Consultation to the Professional Network
  • Parental Therapeutic Needs Assessment

Consultation to the Allocated Social Worker

Why choose this?

This option is useful when:

  • There are parts of a family’s situation that are difficult to understand
  • There are multiple significant needs, and it is difficult to know which to prioritise
  • Things feel ‘stuck’, or expected change is not happening
  • It is difficult to accurately assess risk
  • Aspects of the case are having a powerful impact upon the allocated worker

What is involved?

Key background reading is undertaken by the consulting Psychologist (e.g. chronology, PAMS assessment, assessments by other mental health professionals).

The Allocated Social Worker meets with the consulting Psychologist (either at one of our clinics, or the Social Worker’s usual base), and is guided through the process of developing a trauma and attachment informed, psychological formulation of the case.

The Social Worker is supported to connect with the emotional and psychological impact of the case for them, and thus, understand the ‘helping’ attachment relationship more deeply. This understanding is incorporated in to the formulation.

What happens next?

Initial recommendations are shared during the consultation session. Recommendations are likely to include:

  • Attachment and trauma informed strategies for working with the family
  • Priority needs to be addressed (i.e. those most likely to result in timely change)
  • How to sequence interventions
  • How to optimise the attachment relationship between parents and professionals

A written case formulation will be provided by the consulting Psychologist within two weeks of the consultation.

Case Consultation to the Professional Network

Why choose this?

This is a useful option when:

  • A case is complex, with the potential for risk of harm to children or young people is significant, and a number of different agencies are involved
  • There are parts of a case that are difficult to understand, and there is a lack of consensus within the professional network
  • There are multiple significant needs that require the input of a large number of professionals, and it is difficult to know which to prioritise
  • The professional network is not working as effectively together as everyone would like
  • Professionals, and the family, feel stuck and frustrated
  • Aspects of the case are having a powerful impact upon the all of the professionals involved, which may be manifesting as difficulties in relationships between professionals

What is involved?

Key background reading is undertaken by the consulting Psychologist (e.g. chronology, PAMS assessment, assessments by other mental health professionals)

The entire professional network meets with the consulting Psychologist (either at one of our clinics, or a convenient location for the network), and is guided through the process of developing a trauma and attachment informed, psychological formulation of the case.

Considerable time is dedicated to supporting the entire professional network to connect with the emotional and psychological impact of the case for each individual, and the network as a whole. The patterns of survival, defence, attachment, resilience and compassion within the team will be ‘brought to life’ in the room, and the network will be supported to observe these patterns with acceptance, curiosity and respect. This understanding is incorporated into the formulation.

What happens next?

We ask professional networks to approach these consultations with openness, honesty and self-reflection. Therefore, we do not minute or record what is shared.

In the final part of the meeting, the consulting Psychologist will facilitate the network to bring their reflections together in to a clear and concise plan for future working.

Parental Therapeutic Needs Assessment

Why choose this?

Empirical evidence tells us that the most powerful way to meet the emotional and psychological needs of a child is to meet the emotional and psychological needs of their caregiver. Creating a safe and secure care environment in the home has more profound and long-lasting impact than any individual therapy provision or even a number of discrete therapies.

Working alongside West Sussex County Council, we have developed a specialism in meeting the therapeutic needs of vulnerable parents. Often, parents come to us with a history of significant adversity, disruption, loss and trauma. They may have been removed from their own birth family. They may have insecure and mistrustful attachments with professional caregivers. They may find it difficult to relate openly to ‘help’, as help may feel threatening, overwhelming, or confusing.

A Parental Therapeutic Needs Assessment may be appropriate when there is a recognition that a parent’s own psychological and emotional vulnerabilities are serving to inhibit their capacity to parent their own children in the way that they would want to. We are very happy to work alongside statutory services to proactively engage parents who are anxious, ambivalent or unsure.

What is involved?

We commence all of our assessments with a professional network meeting. It is really important for parents to know that all of the professionals around them are working together in a joined-up way, and that there is an overall commitment to supporting them therapeutically. This meeting happens with the knowledge of the parent, but they would not usually be in attendance. This is an opportunity for professionals to share both their concerns and their hopes.

Following this, we would typically undertake any background reading, and meet with the parent over two to three hours to complete a clinical interview and administer psychological measures. Our aim is to develop a psychological ‘formulation’ of the parent’s difficulties, both as an adult in their own right, and as a parent. This involves developing an understanding of:

  • The parent’s own early years environment, early experiences of care, and developmental experiences.
  • The story of the parent’s key transitional stages (e.g. childhood to adolescence, adolescence to adulthood).
  • Understanding any significant life events, including the experience of becoming a parent.
  • A detailed picture of how difficulty and distress impact upon daily life, including the challenges of parenting.
  • The factors that seem to make things worse, or stop them from getting better.
  • How the parent experiences ‘help’, in the context of their own attachment pattern, and how they relate to professional caregivers.
  • The parent’s strengths, resources, skills and qualities.

All of this information is then brought together, underpinned by psychological theory and research evidence. We draw upon this understanding to generate our therapeutic recommendations for the parent.

What happens next?

Our assessment letter will be ready within three weeks of the last assessment appointment. This letter will include our formulation, and detailed recommendations for the type of therapeutic intervention that we think would be most helpful. We will invite the parent and allocated Social Worker to come back to meet with us face-to-face, to share our formulation and therapeutic recommendations. We usually conduct this meeting in two parts, allowing the parent to be the first person that our feedback is shared with.

Where therapeutic intervention is recommended, a phased programme will be devised, allowing the commissioning service to regularly review progress before commissioning the next phase. Please see ‘How will progress be reviewed?’

The psychological interventions that we use with vulnerable parents include:

  • Cognitive Analytic Therapy
  • Comprehensive Resource Model
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing
  • Integrative Psychotherapy
  • Internal Family Systems Therapy
  • Mentalization Based Treatment
  • Schema Therapy
  • Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

If, as part of a Parental Therapeutic Needs Assessment, it becomes clear that the parent-child relationship could be further supported by a dyadic intervention, this will form part of our recommendations. Most often, individual intervention with parents will be sequenced to take place before their child is brought into a therapeutic space with them.

How will progress be reviewed?

Therapeutic progress is something which is continually reviewed throughout the intervention. During the feedback and treatment planning meeting with the parent and Social Worker, the intervals for review will be agreed. Review can take the form of a telephone call between therapist and Social Worker, a written report, or a professional’s review meeting.

Alongside this, we have three main ways that we evaluate therapeutic progress:

  1. During the Therapeutic Needs Assessment, the parent will be asked to fill out a number of questionnaires, which will be re-administered at the end of each piece of work.
  2. At the start of the therapeutic intervention, the parent will be asked to identify three therapeutic goals, and scale them to show how well they feel they are achieving those goals. We will review these goals and the scaling at the end of therapy.
  3. At the end of therapy, both parent and referrer will be asked to tell us how satisfied you feel with your experience of coming to Beacon House, and whether you feel the difficulties you have been working on have improved.

How do I make a referral?

You can request a referral form by contacting the clinic on 01444 413939. Alternatively, you can email admin@beaconhouse.org.uk. Please specify which service you are requesting: case consultation, professional network case consultation, or therapeutic needs assessment and your preference of whether the work should take place from our Cuckfield or Chichester clinic. If you are unsure of the right option, please feel free to request a free of charge initial telephone conversation with Dr Laura France, Adult Services Lead, to help you to select the most appropriate service.

Your referral form and supporting documentation will be reviewed by our Adult Services Lead, who will then provide an estimate within three working days. We are usually able to commence work immediately on the receipt of a Purchase Order number. We do not have a waiting list and can usually organise the first appointment within two weeks.

Safeguarding

Our commitment to working therapeutically with parents is rooted in our commitment to the safety, protection and well-being of children. Please see our Safeguarding Policy here.


Getting in Touch

If you have any questions about our services please feel free to pick up the phone to us on 01444 413 939 or send us an email on admin@beaconhouse.org.uk, we welcome informal conversations about whether we are the right service for you. To make a referral please click here.

(Please do not send Post or attend for Therapy)
Registered Name Beacon House Psychological Services Ltd
Registered in England and Wales.
Registered Address AD5 Littlehampton Marina, Ferry Road, Littlehampton BN17 5DS
Registered No: 09205920
Chichester 01243 219 900Cuckfield 01444 413 939Enquiry: Message Us

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RETRIEVED https://beaconhouse.org.uk/specialist-clinics/families-at-risk-of-breakdown/

Fact sheets for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)


In response to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronvirus), Blue Knot have prepared some fact sheets to help members of the community, as well as health professionals take care of themselves and others during this challenging time.

Here at Blue Knot Foundation, we will continue to provide as many of our usual services as we can. As the health and wellbeing of our staff is our absolute priority we are rapidly transitioning our teams to working from home. We will still deliver all of our counselling services – Blue Knot Helpline and redress application support as well as the National Counselling and Referral Service supporting people affected by or engaging with the Disability Royal Commission. Our counselling services will maintain the high degree of professionalism, privacy and confidentiality currently provided. Should there be any disruptions to our services during this transitions, we anticipate that they will be minor and temporary. Our focus is for our trauma specialist counsellors to continue to provide the counselling, support and information currently provided through all the usual numbers and channels (see below for further information). 

We will also continue to disseminate our monthly Breaking Free and quarterly Blue Knot Review publications as always. Blue Knot will be additionally releasing new publications and fact sheets in the coming months, including resources related to caring for ourselves during the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Ongoing Counselling and Support Services 

Call 1300 657 380 Mon-Sun between 9-5 AEDT to reach our Blue Knot Helpline and redress services.

Call 1800 421 468 to reach our National Counselling and Referral Service (supporting the Disability Royal Commission) or go here and to find out the other ways with which you can connect with this service.

The Australian Government has released an official app with the information you need to know about Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Download from Apple App Store
Download from Google Play 
or visit www.australia.gov.au

The Australian Government has also created a new WhatsApp feature.

Message +61 400 253 787 or go to aus.gov.au/whatsapp in your web browser to get coronavirus information you can trust from the official Australian Government chatbot.

Whatsapp is available from the Apple Store or Google Play.

Please do what you can to look after yourself, stay connected and reach out when you need to.

Blue Knot Helpline 1300 657 380 Mon-Sun 9am-5pm AEST/ADST

Download Now

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Download PLAIN ENGLISH version


RETRIEVED https://www.blueknot.org.au/Resources/Fact-Sheets/COVID-19

Scientists Have Found a Strong Link Between a Terrible Childhood And Being Intensely Creative

MICHELLE STARR 8 MAY 2018

Performing artists who were exposed to abuse, neglect or a dysfunctional family as a child might experience their creative process more intensely, according to a new long-term study that has found a link between the two.https://bc67c5507046c5114c00f19acd7fd6d0.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Psychologists at California State University, Northridge, studied 234 professional performers, looking for a reason why mental health disorders are so common in the performing arts.

“The notion that artists and performing artists suffered more pathology, including bipolar disorder, troubled us,” dance coordinator and psychologist Paula Thomson, a co-author on the new study, told Psypost.

“No one seemed willing to also include the effects of early childhood adversity and adult trauma and its influence on creativity and psychopathology.”

The study examined 83 actors, directors, and designers; 129 dancers; and 20 musicians and opera singers. These study participants filled out self-report surveys pertaining to childhood adversity, sense of shame, creative experiences, proneness to fantasies, anxiety, and level of engagement in an activity.

The study found that, compared to the original Adverse Childhood Experiences study conducted back in 1998 on 9,508 adults, performing artists as a group reported a higher level of childhood emotional abuse and neglect.

The participants were able to be categorised into three groups: those who reported a high level of childhood adversity; those who had experienced a lower or medium level; and those who had experienced little to none.null

It’s the high-level group that demonstrated the greater extremes. These performing artists had much higher anxiety, much more internalised shame, and reported more cumulative past traumatic events. They were also more prone to fantasies.

But they also seemed more connected with the creative process, the researchers said. They were more aware of it, and reported feeling more absorbed in it. They reported heightened awareness of a state of inspiration and a sense of discovery during the process.

They were also able to move more easily between the state of absorption and a more distant state for critical awareness, and were more receptive to art.

“Lastly,” the researchers wrote, “[this] group identified greater appreciation for the transformational quality of creativity, in particular, how the creative process enabled a deeper engagement with the self and world. They recognised that it operated as a powerful force in their life.”

Obviously the study has caveats, as self-reported studies can be prone to personal bias. Also, since it was limited to performing artists, comparisons couldn’t easily be made with other subsets of the population.

Nevertheless, the finding, the researchers said, may indicate that adult performers who have experienced childhood adversity are better able to recognise and value the creative process; and the ability of that group to enjoy the creative process could indicate resilience.

“We are saddened by the number of participants in our study who have suffered multiple forms of childhood adversity as well as adult assaults (both sexual and non-sexual),” Thomson told Psypost.

“So many participants in our sample have experienced poly-traumatization and yet they also embrace their passion for performance and creativity. They are embracing ways to express all that is human.”

The research has been published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.


RETRIEVED https://www.sciencealert.com/childhood-adversity-linked-to-intense-creative-process

Creativity’s CSA Impact | performing arts + child sexual abuse

Long suspected throughout many CSA Victims’ childhoods, in 2018 Scientific Alert published the following article on the proven-identified link: “Scientists Have Found a Strong Link Between a Terrible Childhood And Being Intensely Creative”. Opening with ‘exposure to abuse, neglect or a dysfunctional family’ throughout a victim’s childhood, expands to join together how these impacts have a clear linkage. Complemented through Counselling and verifying some Victims’ long-held suspicions, this Article gives another (Scientific/Journalistic) POV – which may also satisfy those of us who often felt disbelieved, palmed-away or ignored. We knew what we were/had survived; we just didn’t know how to word, or should I say ‘Scientifically categorise’ what we ‘endured’! … WTF ?!!!… we were only young, innocent kids at their time: the perfect hunting ground, for these Criminal-Pedophilic-Dirty-(typically)-Senior/Old-(WO)-Men.

I apologise for going off on an emotional-outburst, yet this is a toned-down form of many of the conversations had with Victims, Parents and Relations; Thankfully, their mutual aim is to protect this triggering news from younger Siblings; As horrifying as this possibility is to consider, perhaps this is (another) layer of defence which the Criminal-Pedophilic-Dirty-(typically)-Senior/Old-(WO)-Men know of + exploit. Having (naturally?) always having entered the Arts, this Article gives many reasons and answers questions, yet more interests may be shown. Perhaps this is an underlying advantage of Creativity, yet CSA Survivours I’ve spent any time with each have their own ‘checklists’ to work through. At this point, I’ll aim to re-publish the complete Article ASAP, in addition to again providing the Private + Confidential Counsellors. Of great interest, is the amount of focus I am working through with my Counsellor on the “minor and inconsiderate” events, which are actually mounting up to explain the devastating impact which may result.

Hopes are that each of you, your loved ones and each of our ecosystems copes alright throughout this COVID19  Pandemic.

/                 /                 /                 RECENT SEARCH

Performing artists who were exposed to abuse, neglect or a dysfunctional family as a child might experience their creative process more … https://www.sciencealert.com/childhood-adversity-linked-to-intense-creative-process

/                 /                 /

REFERENCE

Starr, M. (2018). Scientists Have Found a Strong Link Between a Terrible Childhood And Being Intensely Creative. https://www.sciencealert.com/childhood-adversity-linked-to-intense-creative-process

‘Corruption, abuse, deception AND obstruction …’

Does the mention of any of the terms of ‘corruption, abuse, deception, obstruction’ cause a creepy feeling, the hairs on the back of your neck stand, or a chill run down your spine? You may have been effected by any of inappropriate issues, that are still becoming prevalent today. Most of us are familiar with the saying of “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely”. (Lord Acton)

Translations of this are often made into areas of vulnerability: Teacher-Students (pedophilia), Church Leader-Youth (child sexual abuser), Sports Coach-Player (privatelessons), Disability Carer-disabled (manipulation), Government-Indigenous (stolen generations), Caretaker-Retiree (aged care abuse) and Banks-Customers (coercion). Thankfully, there’s been many Royal Commissions called, with more to come. Our ‘RoyalCommBBC’ is only a small example of what can be possible, when the Sharing of beneficial Information-News-Experiences-Solutions are made.

A great part of any Institution, is that like members typically stick together. It’s been found that when ‘reality hits home’, many of us acknowledge that they’re not alone AND there is a simple solution available. This is where RCbbc can help, in supporting past Students, Parents and Friends in contacting experts in their fields.

‘Statements’, Visible, CARC & RCbbc

It should be made clear, that from the range of ‘Statements’ collected, that most “Institutions” overseen by the 2013-17 CARC continue the traditions of:

  • Hegemony,
  • Class-dynamics (IE low-0SES),
  • Layered-secrecy (‘secret societies’)

Numerous others exist, yet these have been highlighted in the Admin of this RCbbc Blog. Through the inclusion of the UK’s Visible Program, further explanations are able to be shared. Hopes continue that similar Australian/NZ bodies may join RCbbc’s goals. The current NRS is Australia’s victim-survivours to seek Redress 2018-28. ABC have already released provocative Series on 4Corners (St. Kevin’s) + Revelation (Catholic Church).

Visible Project

Improving health and wellbeing with adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

Yes, our RCbbc Blog has signed their Policy Statement & as such, we’ll be Sharing much of our parallel beliefs. Starting with the logo + goal.

Our goal is simple: we want to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for adult survivors of child sexual abuse. 

At Visible, we are a catalyst for health and social care services system change across Leeds and beyond. We encourage, shape and instigate this change, using the experience of survivors to influence every aspect of the way we work.

Check out their site: https://visibleproject.org.uk

Wellbeing assessment

wellbeing assessment

Good mental wellbeing — some people call it happiness — is about more than avoiding mental health problems. It means feeling good and functioning well. It can be helpful to maintain an awareness of your overall wellbeing. It can help you to identify the things that have an impact on how well you’re doing and give you more power in improving your functioning. The below wellbeing assessment is a tool to help you with this.

This wellbeing assessment uses the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS) to measure wellbeing. More about the WEMWBS is below.

Wellbeing self-assessment

To get a wellbeing score, read through the statements and click on the box that best describes your thoughts and feelings over the last two weeks, then click next to continue on through the 14 questions. You will receive information at the end that will provide an assessment of your current wellbeing.


Why the wellbeing scale?

The WEMWBS is an internationally validated assessment of well-being that utilises strength based language less likely to be triggering or distressing for those who have been traumatised.

By integrating and promoting use of the WEMWBS on the Living Well site, we are very much aware that childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault can profoundly impact on an individuals mental and physical well-being.  We have included information on our website on some of the particular difficulties people who have been abused can face, as well as some ways of addressing these.

Our decision to foreground the well-being assessment is based on a knowledge that living a fulfilling, healthy, connected, active life is possible after sexual abuse and we do not wish to accept a lesser goal for all those whom we live and work with.

About the wellbeing scale

The WEMWBS questionnaire for measuring mental well-being was developed by researchers at Warwick and Edinburgh Universities (see Tennant R, Hiller L, Fishwick R, Platt P, Joseph S, Weich S, Parkinson J, Secker J, Stewart-Brown S (2007) The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS): development and UK validation, Health and Quality of Life Outcome; 5:63 doi:101186/1477-7252-5-63).

The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale was funded by the Scottish Executive National Programme for improving mental health and well-being, commissioned by NHS Health Scotland, developed by the University of Warwick and the University of Edinburgh, and is jointly owned by NHS Health Scotland, the University of Warwick and the University of Edinburgh.

The WEMWBS is subject to copyright. We are grateful that we have received permission to use and make available the WEMWBS. Click here for more information about the WEMWBS.

Get the mobile version

The well-being assessment is one of the features available in the free Living Well Appfor iPhone and Android. Keep track of your well-being on the go.


RETRIEVED https://www.livingwell.org.au/well-being-assessment/

The Lingering Trauma of Child Abuse

Child abuse can cause psychological ramifications for many years.

Posted Apr 24, 2011


The lingering effects of child abuse and PTSD Source: http://bodyconversations.com

In an earlier post, I talked about child neglect (known as an “act of omission”). On the other end of the spectrum of child abuse is physical abuse, an act of commission.

According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services statistics for 2006, approximately 905,000 U.S. children were found to have been maltreated that year, with 16% of them reported as physically abused (the remainder having suffered sexual abuse or neglect.)1 In other studies, it’s been noted that approximately 14-43% of children have experienced at least one traumatic abusive event prior to adulthood.2 And according to The American Humane Association (AHA), an estimated 1,460 children died in 2005 of abuse and neglect.3

The AHA defines physical child abuse as “non-accidental trauma or physical injury caused by punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning or otherwise harming a child.”3 However, it can be challenging to draw the line between physical discipline and child abuse. When does corporal punishment cease to be a style of parenting and become an abusive behavior that is potentially traumatizing for its child victims in the long-term?

A recent episode of the popular television show Dr. Phil featured a woman whose extreme disciplinarian tactics later resulted in her arrest and prosecution for child abuse. A featured video showed her forcing her young adopted son to hold hot sauce in his mouth and take a cold shower as punishment for lying. Audience members were horrified—as was Dr. Phil—but the woman insisted that she couldn’t find a better way to control her child. Many child abusers are not aware when their behavior becomes harmful to a child or how to deal with their own overwhelm before they lose their tempers.

At its core, any type of abuse of children constitutes exploitation of the child’s dependence on and attachment to the parent.

Another therapeutic term that is used in conjunction with child abuse is “interpersonal victimization.” According to the book Childhood victimization: violence, crime, and abuse in the lives of young people by David Finkelhor, interpersonal victimization can be defined as “…harm that comes to individuals because other human[s] have behaved in ways that violate social norms.”5 This sets all forms of abuse apart from other types of trauma-causing-victimization like illness, accidents, and natural disasters.

Finkelhor goes on to explain: “Child victimizations do not fit neatly into conventional crime categories. While children suffer all the crimes that adults do, many of the violent and deviant behaviors engaged in by human[s] to harm children have ambiguous status as crimes. The physical abuse of children, although technically criminal, is not frequently prosecuted and is generally handled by social-control agencies other than the police and criminal courts. “5

What happens to abused children?

In some cases—depending on the number of reports made, the severity of the abuse, and the available community resources—children may be separated from their parents and grow up in group homes or foster care situations, where further abuse can happen either at the hands of other abused children who are simply perpetuating a familiar patterns or the foster parents themselves. In 2004, 517,000 children were living in foster homes, and in 2005, a fifth of reported child abuse victims were taken out of their homes after child maltreatment investigations.6 Sometimes, children do go back to their parents after being taken away, but these statistics are slim. It’s easy to imagine that foster care and group home situations, while they may ease the incidence of abuse in a child’s life, can lead to further types of alienation and trauma.

How does child abuse turn into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

For children that have suffered from abuse, it can be complex getting to the root of childhood trauma in order to alleviate later symptoms as adults. The question is, how does child abuse turn into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder later in life? What are the circumstances that cause this to happen in some cases and not others?

Statistics show that females are much more likely than males to develop PTSD as a result of experiencing child abuse. Other factors that help determine whether a child victim will develop PTSD include:7

  • The degree of perceived personal threat.
  • The developmental state of the child: Some professionals surmise that younger children, because they are less likely to intellectually understand and interpret the effects of a traumatic situation, may be less at risk for long-term PTSD).
  • The relationship of the victim to the perpetrator.
  • The level of support the victim has in his day-to-day life as well as the response of the caregiver(s).
  • Guilt: A feeling of responsibility for the attack (“I deserve it”) is thought to exacerbate the changes of PTSD.
  • Resilience: the innate ability to cope of the individual.
  • The child’s short-term response to abuse: For instance, an elevated heart rate post-abuse has been documented as increasing the likelihood that the victim will be later suffer from PTSD.

Carolyn Knight wrote a book called Working With Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma that states: “Trauma, by definition, is the result of exposure to an inescapably stressful event that overwhelms a person’s coping mechanisms.”6 She points out that an important aspect of an event (or pattern of events) is that it exceeds the victim’s ability to cope and is therefore overwhelming. A child should not have to cope with abuse, and when abuse occurs, a child is not equipped psychologically to process it. The adults in their lives are meant to be role models on how to regulate emotions and provide a safe environment.

According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, some of the particular symptoms of child PTSD include:8

  • Frequent memories and/or talk of the traumatic event(s)
  • Bad dreams
  • Repeated physical or emotional symptoms whenever the child is confronted with the event
  • Fear of dying
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Regular physical complaints such as headaches or stomachaches
  • Extreme emotional reactions
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability, anger, violence
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Constant or often clingy or whiny behavior and regression to a younger age
  • Increased vigilance or alertness to their environment

THE BASICS

Once a child has grown to be an adult, however, symptoms of PTSD can become more subtle as he or she learns how to cope with this in day-to-day life. The symptoms of PTSD can be quite general and can mimic other disorders: depressionanxiety, hypervigilance, problems with alcohol and drugs, sleep issues, and eating disorders are just a few. Many have problems in their relationships and trusting another person again. Many even end up in abusive relationships and find themselves re-enacting the past.

Community support is a vital tool in preventing child abuse and the PTSD that can result from it. If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from child abuse, please report it to your local Child Protection Services — or the police, if a child is in immediate danger. The longer that abuse continues, the higher the risk of causing severe symptoms.

  • For more information about actions to take if you suspect a case of child abuse, visit the Dreamcatchers website.
  • If you or a loved one may be suffering from delayed effects of trauma due to childhood abuse, I encourage you to make a therapyappointment with someone who specializes in trauma and who can put you on a path of healing.

REFERENCES:

Child Maltreatment 2006. Washington DC: US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children Youth and Families Children’s Bureau; 2008. 1-194

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/916007-overview

http://www.americanhumane.org/

http://www.americanhumane.org/children/stop-child-abuse/fact-sheets/chil…

http://www.americanhumane.org/children/stop-child-abuse/fact-sheets/chil…

United States Department of Health and Human Services

Child Abuse and Neglect, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” by Angelo P Giardino, MD, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine; Medical Director, Texas Children’s Health Plan, Incarticle continues after advertisementnull

http://www.aacap.org/

About the Author

Susanne Babbel, Ph.D., M.F.T., is a psychologist specializing in trauma and depression.Online:website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn


RETRIEVED https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/somatic-psychology/201104/the-lingering-trauma-child-abuse