How is trauma treatment experienced in childhood?

Trauma is one of the psychopathological disorders for which people turn more to psychotherapy.

Although these are complex phenomena, their importance in the field of mental health has given rise to decades of scientific research on this subject, so that today it is not 100% understood how they work or “ is able to predict how and when its symptoms will arise, yes very useful treatment methodologies have been developed to help patients with this disorder, even those who drag the problem from their first few years of life.

In this article we will focus on how is trauma treatment experienced in childhood, Through a summary of the procedures with which we work psychologists specializing in therapy.

    What is psychological trauma?

    The psychological trauma is a set of psychopathological disorders that affect the emotional memory of events associated with emotions related to anxiety and distress. They occur when, in interaction with the environment, we experience something that marks us emotionally to the point of leaving psychological scars in us, which will manifest itself through a series of symptoms that affect our quality of life.

    These sequelae are usually anxious-depressive, affecting both self-esteem and thought patterns when perceiving reality in general, and also tend to give way to seizures in which intrusive thoughts or Mental images in the form of “strokes of genius” repeatedly enter the consciousness of the person. and skyrocket their anxiety or even fear levels within seconds or minutes.

    Outraged, unlike phobias, these experiences can be replicated in a wide variety of situations. As traumatic events have left a mark on the person, the person tends to inadvertently “rekindle” this emotional imprint from contexts that have very little to do with each other.

    Psychological trauma can take many forms, post-traumatic stress being one of the best known, and it is classically triggered by catastrophic events such as car crashes or other violent situations in which one’s own physical integrity is in jeopardy. in danger. However, trauma doesn’t always have to happen this way. In this article, we will focus on one type of trauma in particular: the complex trauma, closely related to childhood.

    What is a complex trauma?

    Complex trauma is a type of traumatic disorder the trigger event did not need to be one-off, but in many cases it is made up of situations that last over time. Classically, this type of trauma begins in childhood, a stage in life in which we are particularly vulnerable to harmful experiences that we cannot end on our own, as we depend on help and support. involvement of others to change the daily context. where to live (move, change schools, etc.).

    Due to the nature of this psychopathological disorder, an often complex trauma is based on the interaction between the child and one or more members of his family group, Since the family is the element that is constantly being formed. The situations that can give rise to this disorder are parental neglect, sexual abuse by family or friends, constant humiliation at home and, in general, the daily dynamic of interaction in which the victim finds himself due to physical or psychological attacks.

    In addition, another characteristic of complex trauma is that its sequelae may take a long time to appear, or even appear for the first time after adolescence, generating a kind of “hiatus” between the traumatic events and the stage at which the symptoms manifest themselves. .

    It is indicative of the complexity of brain maturation processes, And also the way in which autobiographical memories and the concept of “I” rely on the constant re-meaning of what is remembered. Many times we can only understand the implications of what we experience in our childhood once we have entered adulthood, and that is when emotional discomfort arises.

      Treatment of trauma due to childhood events

      These are the most common intervention procedures used to help people with childhood trauma.

      EMDR therapy (desensitization and reprocessing of eye movements)

      This type of psychotherapy is inspired by systematic desensitization, And has the advantage of being able to be applied with relative ease in young boys and girls, as it is hardly based on abstract thought articulated through language.

      It consists of a series of practices to facilitate the brain’s reprocessing of traumatic memories and to extinguish or attenuate its “emotional mark” which triggers the extreme discomfort of the trauma. In other words, it is much easier to become habituated to emotionally painful memories, which causes them to lose power over the person.


        Hypnosis can also be applied in the clinical setting to allow the person to improve their relationship with these traumatic memories, offering new “paths” to those who are not going through distress, Stress, etc. It is based on bringing the person to a state of suggestion in which it is easier to make their associations between thoughts and feelings malleable, in order to seek the most constructive and least harmful way of thinking about events.

        Cognitive-behavioral therapy

        Under this label are a wide variety of therapeutic resources which may be useful in the treatment of childhood trauma. The idea they are all based on is that in order to produce change for the better in people, it is easier to achieve it through a two-way street: changing habits and changing thought patterns.

        Are you looking for psychological support in therapy?

        Fr Cepsim Psychological Center we have a team of psychotherapists with more than 25 years of professional experience in the care of patients. We work basing our work on a theoretical and practical orientation in which various techniques and methodologies are integrated, to adapt to the needs and the specific problem to be addressed in each person. Contact us through this page.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Blaustein, ME; Kinniburgh, KM (2010). Treating traumatic stress in children and adolescents: how to foster resilience through affect, self-regulation and competence. New York: Guilford Press.
        • Briere, J .; Scott, C. (2006). Principles of trauma therapy: a guide to symptoms, assessment and treatment. California: SAGE Publications, Inc. pages 37-63.
        • Ford, JD; Fat, D .; Greene, C .; Levine, J .; Spinazzola, J .; van der Kolk, B. (2013). Clinical significance of a proposed developmental traumatic disorder diagnosis: results of an international physician survey. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 74 (8): pages 841 to 849.
        • Seligman, MEP and Maier, SF (1967). Don’t escape traumatic shock. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 74: pages 1-9.
        • Steele K .; van der Hart O .; Nijenhuis, ER (2005). Phased treatment of structural dissociation in complex trauma: overcoming trauma-related phobias. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation. 6 (3): pages 11 to 53.
        • van der Kolk, B. (2005). Developmental trauma disorder. Psychiatric annals. pages 401 to 408.

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