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When Bad Things Happen: Understanding Trauma

Sometimes, scary, or upsetting things can happen to kids and teens. These things are called traumatic events.

They can be really frightening or make you feel like you are in danger. Some examples of traumatic events are:

  • Bad accidents or injuries
  • Natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes
  • Seeing violence or abuse happen to someone else
  • Being bullied or hurt by someone
  • Losing someone you love

When these kinds of things happen, it is normal to feel scared, sad, angry, or confused. Most kids and teens start to feel better after a while with help from family and friends. But for some, the feelings do not go away or get worse over time. When this happens, it is called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD for short.

Kids and teens with PTSD might:

  • Have bad dreams or scary thoughts about what happened
  • Feel like it’s happening again sometimes (this is called a flashback)
  • Feel jumpy or on edge a lot of the time
  • Have trouble sleeping or concentrating
  • Try to avoid things that remind them of what happened
  • Feel numb or disconnected from others
  • Get angry or upset easily

Sometimes, if a kid or teen goes through something really scary or upsetting over and over again, especially when they are very young, they might develop something called Complex PTSD, or CPTSD. This can happen if a child experiences things like:

  • Being neglected or not having their basic needs met
  • Being abused physically, emotionally, or sexually
  • Witnessing violence in their home or community
  • Being forced to work or do things they do not want to do

Kids and teens with CPTSD might have a hard time:

  • Controlling their emotions
  • Trusting others or forming close relationships
  • Feeling safe or like the world is a good place
  • Feeling good about themselves
  • Dealing with feelings of guilt or shame
  • Feeling different from everyone else

If you or someone you know has gone through something traumatic and is struggling with these kinds of feelings and experiences, it is important to get help. There are special types of therapy that can help kids and teens with PTSD and CPTSD feel better and learn to cope with what happened.

We at Viam Tuam, are specialised in helping kids and teens heal from trauma.

We use different kinds of therapy,
like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and Schema Therapy, to help kids and teens process what happened and learn healthy ways to deal with their emotions.

Remember, if you have experienced trauma, it is not your fault, and you are not alone. With the right help and support, you can start to feel better and move forward with your life.