By ASHLEY JACOBUS
Trauma is not an old man’s game. Precious youth are also exposed to unthinkable circumstances.
It is important to keep trauma from becoming tragedy.
Many have heard of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to serving in the military.
Everyone has the potential to experience PTSD. If you feel as though you may be experiencing PTSD, seek help! It could save your life.
Children also experience PTSD. They are exposed more than we would like to accept. The stories are on the news, your computer, and close to home.
A special gift in children is resiliency. They have a fantastic ability to overcome whatever life throws at them.
This is great news for the recovery process. Kids often experience quicker, more meaningful success.
For this reason, children need support as soon as possible after a traumatic event. Trauma-informed treatments are available, and are sometimes designed to be fun for participants.
Processing traumatic events through play therapy is effective and rewarding. By using various play therapy techniques, children and adults are better able to discuss painful experiences. They WANT to come back! The work being done is hardly noticed.
Long-term benefits in kids able to creatively discuss pain have been incredible. The painful life event does not become defining. The child sees the experience as an unfair time that was not his or her fault.
Children often do not have the words to tell adults they are hurting. If you are not aware of any sexual or physical abuse, it can be difficult to realize help is needed. Some warning signs to keep in mind are nightmares, altered behavior, inattention, bed-wetting, daytime accidents (urine or stool), lower grades, irritability, sadness, and anger.
Seeking help is never wasted time. If you are uncertain whether something has happened, but something is off, it is worthwhile to seek professional help. Getting counseling for a child does not mean you are a bad parent or your child is a bad kid. It means life is hard and cannot be done alone. Remember the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
You are not alone.
Jacobus is a licensed professional counselor with Sunshine Institute, Findlay. If there is a mental health question, please write to: Mental Health Moment, The Courier, P.O. Box 609, Findlay 45839.