Many of the young people we work with here at Hope 4 Hurting Kids have experienced some sort of trauma in their lives. Whether we are dealing with the trauma itself or the side effects of it, it is important to understand what trauma really is and the impact it has on kids. This past week, I was listening to a podcast called the Trauma Informed Support podcast (www.tipbs.com) which included the most concise and clear definition I have heard. The podcast is directed towards teachers working with kids who have experienced a trauma, and I would expand the list of potential traumas included, but other than I think it is perfect for anyone working with young people. The name of the podcast is “What is Childhood Trauma?” Here is a transcript of the podcast which includes a link to the site.
“A traumatic event is an incident that causes physical, emotional, spiritual or psychological harm. The person experiencing the distressing event may feel threatened, anxious or frightened as a result. The term “childhood trauma” describes the problem of children’s exposure to multiple or prolonged traumatic events and the impact of this exposure on their development.
Typically complex trauma exposure involves the simultaneous or sequential occurrence of child maltreatment including psychological maltreatment, neglect, physical and sexual abuse and domestic violence that is chronic, begins in early childhood and occurs within the primary care giving system.
Experiences of elevated prolonged stress or trauma rock the very core of children and young people. In these circumstances, children are overwhelmed with the internal reactions that race through their brains and bodies. They do anything to survive, not because they want to but because they need to. They shut down their feelings. They push away memories of pain. They stop relying on relationships around them to protect them. They stop trusting and believing in others.