Working With Children Who Have Experienced Trauma
Understanding how trauma impacts children, how this presents and how professionals can support children who have been impacted
This course is recommended for those working with children in education, health and social care professions (Primary School Teachers, Secondary School Teachers, Early Years Practitioners, Social Workers, Youth Workers, GPs, Nurses, SNAs/CAs, Counselors, NQTs, Home School Community Liaison Officers, Principals, Boards of Management, Administration Staff).
It has been coined "the most fundamental psychology course for anyone working with children - it needs to be mandatory". Parents are also welcome to complete this course.
It comes as no surprise to anyone working with or parenting children that mental health conditions are highly prevalent and are on the increase year on year. In the US, 1 in 6 children aged 2-8 years (17.4%) have a diagnosed mental, behavioural, or developmental disorder (Cree et al., 2016). Meanwhile, according to Public Health England, "12.5% of 5-19 year olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed (2017), and 5% met the criteria for 2 or more mental disorders" (www.gov.uk). Similarly, Mental Health Ireland (2019) states that 1 in 10 children in Ireland suffers from mental health difficulties, particularly anxiety and depression.
Sadly, suicide is a leading cause of death among young people in the United States and across developed countries. Suicide and self-harm rates in Ireland are among the highest in Europe and the numbers are increasing year on year as they are in the United States, while in the UK there has been no decrease in the rates of childhood suicide since 2016. At the same time, we have longer waiting times for access to public psychology services so many children and their families have to manage their issues without appropriate intervention.
This often leads to mayhem within classrooms where children act out their emotions and interfere with the learning of others, leaving teachers feeling ill-equipped to manage the situation. These issues also arise within healthcare and social care settings so staff working in these areas must have a deep understanding of the inner workings of trauma. Working with children from the perspective of understanding their experience, no matter what the trauma was, means that educators can provide a quality of education that is unparalleled in terms of contributing to a long-lasting impact, and health and social care staff can work towards providing a more holistic treatment and/or care plan. For those in the education sector, tailoring lesson plans to be more empathetic and responsive to the needs of the child means that they will be more engaged and therefore want to learn more. This is an intrinsically valuable tool because research shows how education and knowledge can be a buffer for trauma in children and is likely to lead to better outcomes, despite their background. The leadership within education, health and social care settings must incorporate a trauma-informed perspective and this has to begin somewhere.
After participants engage in this course, they will be equipped with the knowledge of how to work with and appreciate the complexities of children who have experienced trauma, and they can then share this knowledge. This means that the leadership in their workplace can implement this innovative ethos with all staff, thus improving the lives of so many more children.
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
- Understand the key psychological components of trauma
- Be able to identify the different types of trauma
- Be aware of the symptoms of trauma in a typical child
- Know the neurobiology of trauma
- Have a good understanding of how the brain responds to trauma
- Have an awareness of how the body responds to trauma
- Appreciate the immediate & long-term effects of PTSD on a child
- Understand the importance of appropriate therapy for the traumatised child
- Know how to support children who have experienced trauma
- Be introduced to effective exercises that can safely and easily be implemented
Lorraine Lynch is CEO and Founder of the Child Psychology Institute. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychological Studies and English, a Higher Diploma in Psychology and a Masters of Science in Health Psychology. Lorraine is also the author of two books designed to promote children’s wellness - #100happydays4kids and Closing Saor’s Day. She is currently completing her thesis for her Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology.