Unfortunately, traumatic events happen, and sometimes, children are involved. They may be victims, they may be witnesses, or they may be both. Their siblings, parents, or other family members may also have suffered the same traumatic event, or they may just be left to deal with the aftermath. Naturally, this can be overwhelming for children as well as adults. Trauma-focused, cognitive-based therapy can help. Here is what you should understand about this approach.

What Is a Traumatic Event? Traumatic events may be physical, sexual, or severe emotional or verbal abuse; violent crime; or the death of someone close to a person, particularly an unexpected death. A traumatic event is essentially any event that is shocking to the psyche and that is outside of the victim's control.

What Is Trauma-Focused Cognitive Based Therapy?

Cognitive-based therapy is short-term psychotherapy that focuses on current issues and behaviors. The emphasis on cognitive-based therapy lies in a problem-solving approach that analyzes current behaviors and the patient's reactions and thought patterns. Trauma-focused, cognitive-based therapy looks at the traumatic event and the often far-reaching consequences that affect behavior and mental health. This approach is often used in children and adolescents. 

When Is Trauma-Focused Cognitive Based Therapy Appropriate?

People who have experienced trauma often develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms may develop shortly after a traumatic event or they may not happen for months or even years afterward.

Depression, anxiety, nightmares, phobia, and flashbacks can all trigger unpleasant memories of the traumatic event. Many people turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate and regulate their symptoms.

For example, someone who suffers recurrent nightmares about the event may have difficulty sleeping and use alcohol as a sleeping aid. While this "solution" may work in the short-term, it won't solve the underlying issues and will eventually exacerbate the problems. Children do not typically have self-medicating as an option and may act out in other ways. 

Children are often not able to express their feelings and may turn things inward. This can result in behavior problems, low self-esteem, and confusion. Older children and adolescents may begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol to numb their pain.

Who Can Benefit from Trauma-Focused Cognitive Based Therapy?

Trauma-focused, cognitive-based therapy provides the opportunity for someone who has suffered a traumatic event to work through their feelings in a safe environment. Extended family members are often included in some or all the appointments, depending on the circumstances. For example, parents may attend appointments with their child or individually to learn coping skills and how to support their child during this difficult time.

For more information on your trauma therapy options, contact a company like Mindshift Wellness Center, LLC.