Expect


Sessions often begin by providing children/adolescents and their families or caregivers education about traumatic events and some of the common responses in those who experience them. The outset of counselling is also a good opportunity to manage some of the current symptom concerns (anxiety, sleep difficulty, trouble managing feelings, etc). Children and adolescents often enter the service emotionally dysregulated as a result of the trauma. This could include episodes of dissociation, hyper-arousal, or hyper-vigilance. As such, clients and their families are taught effective relaxation/coping strategies and grounding techniques for managing overwhelming negative emotions should they arise. After the counselling ground work has been done (managing immediate symptom concerns, improving affective regulation skills), time is then spent creating a trauma narrative as a concrete processing activity to consolidate, and bring closure to, the traumatic experiences. The goal of the trauma narrative is to encourage the child to reveal as much detail as possible regarding the traumatic event, in order to minimize the association between discussing the thoughts or reminders of those experiences and overwhelming feelings. Finally, children and adolescents who have experienced trauma often suffer a decreased sense of ‘safety’ in the world. As a result, treatment sessions are spent further developing safety skills to enhance the child’s feelings of self-efficacy. At the close of counseling, children/adolescents and their families have a celebration to review all of the hard work they have done and gains they have made.