Trauma is not a linear occurrence, nor is it easy to disassemble. Children who’ve grappled with a traumatic experience may have emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual scars. At the same time, their actions reflect still-lingering effects of unprocessed trauma, resulting in challenging or risky behavior. From processing emotions to developing healthier skill sets, trauma-informed care for adolescents develops more adaptive behaviors into adulthood. If you’re searching for mental health services in California, know that HillsidesCares specializes in trauma therapy for teens and children. Learn more by calling 323.641.4842.
What Is Adolescent Trauma?
Nearly ten percent of American teens have grappled with long-lasting trauma or adverse childhood experiences. A growing sense of pandemic isolation and anxiety; the stressors of being a teen in Los Angeles? Any adolescent would feel an effect. How about a child who’s already struggling with trauma? A trauma therapy program for children or adolescents should recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma and acknowledge what a child is going through.
Adolescent trauma stems from a wide array of adverse childhood experiences:
- Exposure to domestic violence
- Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
- Family member in prison or jail
- Sudden death
- Chronic illness
- Substance abuse
These occurrences can disrupt the flow of childhood, impacting the transition from adolescence to adulthood. By acknowledging the sources of trauma, effective trauma therapy teens facilitate the first steps toward healing.
How Can Adolescent Trauma Manifest?
Beyond identifying the sources of childhood or adolescent trauma, knowing what to look for and what “acting out” can reveal is a crucial step toward effective treatment. As a parent or friend of a teenager coping with trauma, you may recognize these behaviors and avoidance strategies commonly attributed to trauma:
- A child may be either extremely expressive or relatively silent – From physical and emotional outbursts difficult to diffuse to isolating themselves from meaningful interaction with others, teens coping with trauma rarely find a middle ground. Extreme or maladaptive behaviors can act as a bait and switch, diverting attention from the underlying presence of trauma.
- Not all moodiness can be blamed on the teen years – Sadness, anger, irritation, and confrontational moods may be indicators of trauma. Adolescents coping with trauma may experience rapidly declining moods, and prolonged moodiness can lead to self-harm.
- Trouble in school, including declining grades or increased truancy, can point to teens dealing with trauma – Unresolved trauma is no match for growing responsibilities or academic expectations; children coping with trauma may exhibit increasing challenges in the classroom environment.
- Challenges with peer relationships or problematic attachments may indicate signs of unresolved trauma – An affected child may isolate themselves from friends to protect themselves from disappointment or judgment, then form attachments with anyone who shows affection or acknowledgment.
Our Trauma Therapy Approaches
We specialize in trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) based on gradual exposure. Our therapists work with children and teenagers to regulate actions and thought patterns and augment feelings of safety and confidence in relationships with self and others. Relaxation skills, narrative processing, and building connections among thoughts, emotions, and actions navigate the complexities of trauma.
Aggression Replacement Training (ART)
ART teaches children and teens to examine new perspectives and reason through problems and problematic behaviors.
Seeking Safety Therapy
Seeking Safety is an approach that helps a teen understand what they can do right now, the moment, to cause a positive and concrete change.
Risking Connections and Restorative Approach
These evidence-based practices are embedded into HillsidesCares programs to ensure we have a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive culture. Risking Connections and Restorative Approach offers knowledge about trauma, the brain, and healing.
They both are ingrained in our foundational trauma training program that our entire staff—administrative, clinical, housekeeping, and operations—receive to serve our clients better. Both of these practices create a framework for responding to adolescents dealing with trauma and teaching them skills and how to make amends.
Discover Transformative Trauma Therapy for Teens and Children at HillsidesCares
HillsidesCares provides trauma-informed care for teens and families coping with impactful adverse experiences. While signs and symptoms of trauma share commonalities, every person is unique. At HillsidesCares, we honor what your child has been through. Reach out at 323.641.4842 to change their destination.