Trauma can be triggered by a number of situations. What's traumatizing for one person may not be traumatizing for another. Likewise, people who are especially vulnerable may suffer trauma from situations that might not phase another person. Kids can be especially vulnerable to the effects of trauma, which is why it's important that they receive appropriate counseling after undergoing traumatic situations. Parental support can help kids make progress in trauma therapy. Here are four ways that parents can help their children succeed in trauma treatment programs for youth.
1. Talk to kids about trauma treatment
Kids who have never participated in therapy before may be nervous about attending their first session. Parents can ease their kids' fears by discussing the purpose of trauma therapy ahead of time. You should talk to your child about therapy in terms they can understand. You can also make an effort to destigmatize therapy by treating it like any other doctor's appointment.
2. Discuss methods of treatment with your child's counselor
Children's mental health therapy is unique in many ways, including the way parents are involved. As a parent, you will have a say in your child's treatment. There are many effective forms of trauma therapy for kids, including art therapy, EMDR therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Your child's counselor will choose the type of therapy they believe will best serve your child. You can feel free to offer any insights, questions, or concerns that you believe may affect your child's treatment.
3. Respect the boundaries of older kids in trauma treatment programs
Doctor-patient confidentiality governs every interaction that a person has with a medical professional, including therapists. However, parents have the right to remain informed about their kids' medical treatment. Older kids and teenagers may feel uncomfortable disclosing things to their therapists when they know their parents will learn about the things they say, so you can help your older child make progress in the therapy by respecting their boundaries and privacy. In the interest of full disclosure, you can have a frank discussion with your child about the level of privacy they can expect in therapy.
4. Seek trauma treatment preemptively
Finally, you can help your child manage trauma by seeking trauma treatment preemptively. If your child experiences an upsetting situation, such as serious illness or loss, enrolling them in therapy can help them avoid developing PTSD. There's no harm in seeking therapy, and having a trusted adult to talk to can help kids to better cope with negative emotions.