Childhood trauma is caused by traumatic experiences that result in either emotional or psychological torture. The article by Chadwick Center for Children and Families brought together experts in childhood trauma. The experts came up with key guidelines to respond to the needs of traumatized children and families from Latino origin.
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The article defines childhood trauma as the process in which an individual goes through or witnesses a distressing experience. This can lead to total withdrawal and further invoke feelings of helplessness and fear (Chadwick Center for Children and Families, n.d., para. 1).
The experts state that children who have been traumatized exhibit some vital post-traumatic symptoms such as intrusive reactions, hyper-arousal reactions, and avoidance/withdrawal reactions. These symptoms identified in the article related to the symptoms exhibited by Juan in our case study. Juan’s mother, Mrs. Hernandez, notes that her son does not fall asleep immediately.
He also wakes up in the middle of the night to find solace in his mother’s bed. She further notes that Juan cries when he is about to visit his father. These are signs of intrusive reactions which could be triggered by painful memories, re-experience or even nightmares, hence causing Juan to have sleepless nights and to possess an inward fear.
On the other hand, Juan’s teacher notes that he is easily irritable and frustrated when he is denied something that he wants. This is evident when he constantly grabs toys from other children. He also appears nervous and easily cries when provoked. During a session with the mother, she raised her concern over her son’s change in behavior such as hitting his sister and shouting back at her.
These signs relate to the hyper-arousal reactions set out in the article which causes the traumatized child to be hyper-vigilance. This attributes to his nervous nature, irritability and exaggerated responses to certain issues. It further explains his violent nature.
During Juan’s session, the therapist noted that Juan possessed signs of avoidance and withdrawal reactions hence his refusal to talk about his father and upon insistence, he resulted in some emotional reaction.
The article establishes various causes that could lead to trauma. It is clear that a high rate of Latino children are exposed to child abuse, with most abuses blamed on their fathers or other relatives. Other causes include family conflicts and exposure to community violence.
The article further establishes that the level of trauma for children who had been sexually abused, and more so, those that had experienced sexual penetration revealed advanced stages of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. The experts further noted that incidents of sexual abuse surpass culture/ethnic factors.
Following his family background, it is evident that Juan witnessed the family tension between his father and mother and his father’s constant use of drugs that led to verbal abuse and threats to Juan’s mother. Juan also saw little of his mother as she was always at work and he was left at the care of his father.
He also witnessed his parent’s separation. In addition to these childhood traumas, there is a high likelihood that Juan is often sexually abused by his father and this is evident due to the high rate of masturbation and willingness to engage other boys in his act. He also seems hesitant to talk about his relationship with the father and instead portrays some anger reaction. It is also noted that he unconsciously touch his penis when agitated.
In conclusion, it is evident that Juan is undergoing a traumatic experience, an issue that needs to be treated with the utmost care as it can result in major consequences.
The article provides that the appropriate evidence-based treatment model ideal for a traumatized child-like Juan would be the Abuse-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (AF-CBT). This is ideal for Juan as it will encourage the full participation of both parents and the therapist will be able to establish the root cause of the problem and come up with a solution.
Chadwick Center for Children and Families. Adaptations Guidelines for Serving Latino Children and Families Affected by Trauma. Web.