Trauma exposure in children and adolescents can present difficulties for the child and adolescent, as well as their friends and family. Often, a diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) does not accurately reflect and capture the complexity of the effects of trauma.
Symptoms of PTSD fall into three clusters: re-experiencing the traumatic event (often through intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks), avoidance of trauma-related reminders, and hyperarousal (difficulties with sleep, anger outbursts). In younger children, the emergence of new fears is common. Often, these symptoms develop after the child or adolescent is exposed to an event in which physical or psychological integrity is compromised. For more PTSD information.
I have extensive, specialty training in treating trauma exposure in children and adolescents, including expertise in the evidence-based treatment, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), as well as in family-based and parent-child treatments. Additionally, I have examined both behavioral outcomes of trauma exposure in adolescents and family factors associated with trauma exposure treatment success in research.