Interventions for Challenging Populations: Children Exposed ...
Interventions for Challenging Populations: Children Exposed to Trauma, Abuse, and Neglect Bryan T. Reuther, PsyD Assistant Professor Indian River State College Points of Focus What do we mean by challenging populations (children)? Define the terrain: Trauma, Abuse and Neglect Recognize the complexities of trauma
Therapeutic themes, strategies, and interventions What Do We Mean by Challenging? Connection between the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and health outcomes Author, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long Term Effects of Childhood Adversity
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris But the problem is what happens when the bear comes home every night, and this system is activated over and over and over again, and it goes from being adaptive, or life-saving, to maladaptive, or health-damaging. Children are especially sensitive to this repeated stress activation, because their brains and bodies are just developing. High doses of adversity not only affect brain structure and function, they affect the developing immune system, developing hormonal systems, and even the way our DNA is read and transcribed. -Dr. Harris
The Toll: How does this impact psychological and emotional functioning? Imagine having to fight or flee or be on high alert every night? How would a child function the next day? Imagine now identifying other people as the bear even if they mean no harm Imagine being so scared everyday you shut down, dissociate, or are just numb Behavior Greenwald (1985) states that, behavior, no matter how strange, manipulative, problematic, or nonsensical 1)is always purposeful and serves motives on conscious and unconscious
levels 2)is comprehensible and has meaning even though the language used may not be 3)is characteristic and consistent with personality even thought it is exaggerated 4)is used to keep a person safe and free of anxiety It is often used for survival, protection or satisfy a deep psychological need The Terrain: What do we mean by Trauma? Is trauma limited to an event?
~66% of children and adolescents report 1 trauma and 33% report multiple traumas (Copeland et al., 2007). Exposure to actual or threatened a) death, b) serious injury, or c) sexual violation, in one or more of the following ways: directly experiencing, witness it to others, learning it happened to a close family member or friend (DSM-V, 2013) Maltreatment We might generally divide maltreatment into abuse and neglect Recognize Traumatic Contexts Adverse Childhood Experiences
(ACES) Kaiser Permanente-CDC study over 17000 participants 67% more than one 12.6% four or more Dose-response worse health outcomes Abuse Acts of Commission Words or overt actions that cause harm, potential harm, or threat of harm to a child. Acts of commission are deliberate and intentional. (CDC)
Physical Sexual Emotional/psychological abuse Higher risk of both externalizing (aggression, hyperactivity) and internalizing (anxiety) behaviors (Augusti, Baugerud, Sulutvedt, Melinder, 2018) Neglect Acts of Omission The failure to provide for a childs basic physical, emotional, or educational needs or to protect from harm or potential harm. (CDC) Failure to provide
Physical Emotional Medical/dental Failure to protect exposure to violent environments May develop internalizing symptoms, e.g., depression, anxiety, shame (Jones, 2008) May also develop hoarding type behaviors or restricted/blunted affect. Complex Trauma Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and PTSD in children 6 years and younger (Preschool subtype)
This does not cover the entire scope The diagnosis of PTSD does not address the developmental effects of repetitive interpersonal trauma, abuse, and neglect Complex trauma can stunt psychological/emotional development AND neurostructural and neurobiological Consider Domains of Impairment (Cook et al., 2005) Complex Trauma: Domains of Impairment Attachment Problems with boundaries Distrust and suspiciousness
Interpersonal Difficulties Biology Sensorimotor developmental problems Somatization Medical problems Affect Regulation Difficulty with emotional selfregulation Difficulty identifying and expressing feelings
Dissociation Amnesia Depersonalization or derealization Fantasy escape Complex Trauma: Domains of Impairment Behavioral Control Impulsiveness or poor impulse control Oppositional behavior/difficulty understanding or complying with rules Reenactment of trauma Cognition
Difficulties in executive functioning Learning difficulties Language development/expression Self-Concept Low self-esteem Shame or guilt Poor body image Results in misdiagnosis, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders What Can Be Done? General
Themes Pathways to Empathy Proper Assessment Establish Safety Involvement of child/adolescent and parents/caregiver Multi-modal and Multi-systemic Emotional Regulation (Cloitre et al., 2018) Involvement of body/mind/spirit Many Interventions What Can Be Done? Healing Children Treating trauma? Or Healing Children?
Phase-Based Treatment e.g., Three Phase Trauma Treatment Judith Herman (1992), Trauma and Recovery Safety and Stabilization Remembrance and Mourning Processing/narrating the trauma Reconnection and Integration Safety and Stabilization Establishing trust Showing trustworthiness Addressing Attachment disruptions Consistency
Learning/identifying how to feel safe Developing coping skills - regulate/modulate emotions* Relaxation Focused breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Music Mindfulness practice Identifying emotions and feelings self awareness Remembrance or Mourning Trauma Processing Trauma Processing Imaginal exposure In vivo exposure Narrating the trauma in a book, poem or song Expression of trauma through play
Expression of trauma through art, dance, or music Reconnection and Integration Building social relationships and networks Include building healthy external relationships (from nuclear family) Healthy sexuality Sharing trauma narrative with parents/caregivers E.g., child shares narrative with parent/caregiver, ask questions. Development and practice of communication Done through conjoint parent/child sessions
What Can Be Done? TF-CBT Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) Evidence-based gold-standard 12-25 sessions (60-90 minutes) Useful for a variety of traumas not limited to PTSD Primary Text: Cohen, J.A., Mannarino, A.P., Deblinger, E. (2017). Treating Trauma and Traumatic Grief in Children and Adolescents. What Can Be Done? TF-CBT Components
Trauma Narration & Processing Trauma Narrative Phase In-Vivo Mastery Conjoint Child-Parent Sessions Integration/Reconsolidation Enhancing Safety Caveat* - requires relatively strong verbal ability Cohen, J.A. & Mannarino (2015). Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Traumatized Children and Families. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 24(3), 557-570. What Can Be Done? Play Therapy Play Therapy Systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process
wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic power of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development (Landreth, 1991). Nondirective and directive variations Self-direction Help with mastery and control Sandtray/sandplay therapy Use of miniatures/figurines/objects in a sandbox What Can Be Done? Creative/Expressive Creative/Expressive Therapies
Poetry and Bibliotherapy Art Therapy Dance/Movement Trauma is a whole-body experience, helps with expression and integration Drama Therapy Malchiodi, C.A. (Ed.)(2008). Creative Interventions with traumatized children. NY, NY: Guildford Press Drewes, A. A. (Ed.). (2009). Blending play therapy with cognitive behavioral therapy: Evidencebased and other effective treatments and techniques. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc. Concluding Remarks Importance of safety and therapeutic relationship Traumatized Children cannot be treated in vacuum Proper Assessment - Consider impact of trauma in all
childhood issues Healing Children vs. Treating Trauma Do not rush to trauma processing Diversity Concerns Get creative/integrative Thanks!!! Contact: [email protected] Selected References Augusti, E-M, Baugerud, G.A., Sulutvedt, U & Melinder, A. (2018).
Maltreatment and trauma symptoms: Does type of maltreatment matter? Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, 10(4), 396-401 Malchiodi, C.A. (Ed.)(2008). Creative Interventions with traumatized children. NY, NY: Guildford Press Cohen, J.A. & Mannarino (2015). Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Traumatized Children and Families. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 24(3), 557-570 Herman, J. (1992). Trauma and Recovery. NY, NY: Basic Books.
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