Sep 18, 2018

Trauma-Informed Engagement


Happy Monday, OOTers. I just wanted give the community a quick post on Trauma-Informed Care for children and teens today. This is the population that I primarily work with and for a very long time, therapists have been missing the diagnosis of trauma in this population (I am guilty of this as well). Often times the child will get the diagnosis of ADHD or Depression because the symptoms very closely resembled the cluster of symptoms that make up those diagnosis or the therapist just didn't know what else to diagnose. Research has shown us that the symptoms of trauma can look a lot like a lot those that often make up other diagnosis. Practicing Trauma-Informed Care means that we no longer place labels on these children without looking at the whole picture first.


Trauma informed care requires service providers, therapists, parents and other involved adults to be willing to take the time to get the child/teen's story and perspective and explore what the underlying need is that is driving their specific behavior. Building trust and providing a space of unconditional acceptance can go a long way in helping to bring healing to a child/teen.


Engaging Children/Teens

- Find out what is important to them:

-Learn their likes/dislikes, what their coping skills are, and their strengths.


-Take time to listen to their story and identify trauma triggers.


-Build goals around what they want to focus on in treatment.

-Ask what it is the child/teen wants to focus on; don't just assume you know.


-Explain the purpose of interventions/assessments/questions at the developmental level of the child/teen.


-Constantly ask yourself what the underlying need is that is driving the behavior and address the behavior based on the underlying need that has been identified.


-Give three options when giving a request (i.e. complete therapeutic homework alone, together or not at all) .

New Posts
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  • September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and National Suicide Prevention Week starts today. In support, today at 1pm, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Why We Rise campaign will host a Twitter Chat in collaboration with the LA Suicide Prevention Network . Please join the conversation if you can! This is a conversation that we should all be having. Join in!
  • I recently indulged in one of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History Podcasts that I found to be particularly relevant to what we are doing at OOTify and what is going on in the world today. First, let me say that this is not a plug for Malcolm Gladwell or his podcast, but really, you should listen to it. It is excellent and he is a brilliant writer and researcher! If you have not heard the podcast or read his books do yourself a favor and dive in. You will not be disappointed. The episode I’m referring to is the August 1st episode “Descend into the Particular”. It is the third episode in a 3 part series where he is discussing the Jesuit way of thinking referred to as Casuistry. This particular episode is using the hot button issue of law enforcement shootings and people’s perceptions of them to illustrate his point that history is not exactly how we have perceived it and that it can be thought of in different ways. He highlights a story of a man who was shot by police officers in New Mexico in 2016. He opens the episode with the information that the public was initially given: that the young latino man was shot too many times and was unarmed. Malcom Gladwell then goes on several masterful tangents as only he can and comes back to this story to finish the episode. It turns out that the young Latino man had committed suicide by cop. Malcolm Gladwell interviews the criminologist who examined the case during the trial brought about by the victim’s family and they proceed to “descend into the particulars”. They go into the back-story of this young man who had been seeing a therapist and who had been having suicidal thoughts. They discuss the particulars of the young man’s actions leading up to the shooting and review police video. Malcolm Gladwell then talks to the young man’s brother who proceeds to tell him that he had no idea that his brother had been seeing a therapist or that he had been struggling with depression. This is when I decided to write this post. It is in line with some of my past posts. There are too many people out there suffering in silence. There ended up being three victims in this case; the actual victim who died, his family and the officer who killed him. This all likely could have been prevented if this young man could have reached out for help, if he had a good support system. I don’t know about the family or about this unfortunate young man, but I can’t help but think that this sort of thing is preventable. A strong support system is invaluable when you are going through difficult times and it can potentially save your life. If you need help it is out there.

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