Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is a mental health condition that can develop after a traumatic event. In can occur in people of any age, gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. PTSD can occur after any type of physically or psychologically stressful event- directly witnessing the event, hearing about the event, or direct exposure. Situations that may bring about PTSD symptoms include:

  • Car accidents
  • Sexual Abuse/Assault
  • Physical Abuse
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Natural Disasters
  • Bullying
  • Incarceration of Parents
  • Death of loved one ( friend/family member)
  • Military
  • Separation from Caregivers

While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are 4 main types of symptoms:

  1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event
  2. Avoidance and numbing
  3. Hyperarousal
  4. Negative thoughts and mood changes

PTSD Symptoms in Children

In Children especially very young children- the symptoms of PTSD can differ from those of adults and may include:

  • Fear of being separated
  • Losing previously-acquired skills ( such as toilet training)
  • Sleep problems and nightmares
  • Somber, compulsive play in which themes or aspects of the trauma are repeated
  • New phobias and anxieties that seem unrelated to the trauma (such as fear of monsters)
  • Acting out the trauma through play, drawings, or stories
  • Aches and pains with no apparent cause
  • Irritability and aggression

Treatment for Trauma

There are many forms of treatment to address PTSD. In individuals (ages 4-18) we offer Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ( TF-CBT) which is a evidenced-based treatment for children and adolescents impacted by trauma and their parents/caregivers. It is a components-based treatment model that incorporates trauma-sensitive interventions with cognitive behavioral, family, and humanistic principles and techniques. For adults, treatment modalities included but are not limited to, cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR, and cognitive processing therapy.