Trauma in Children

Children who have experienced traumatic events do not need to be able to fully understand the experiences to be deeply impacted by them. Very young children may present with post-traumatic symptoms, including heightened reactivity, feelings of blame towards themselves or their caregivers, and avoidance of things that remind them of the event. Children also may re-enact their traumas in “traumatic play,” in attempt to process what has occurred.

Evidence-based treatment plans for trauma responses in children involve age-appropriate assessment, psychoeducation for children and caregivers, and a specific protocol such as Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT) or Adapted Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE).