Simple, complex and developmental trauma; a short guide to each type

 

Trauma can be defined in many different ways – there are lots of definitions and sub categories, which can make it somewhat confusing when it comes to understanding the complexities of it. Three of the more common types of trauma are simple, complex and developmental trauma.

Simple trauma often occurs from single incidents such as; car accidents, house fires, bushfires, earthquakes and other natural disasters. It is overwhelming and painful, involving experiences of events that are life threatening and/or have the potential to cause serious injury, but they aren’t likely to be subject to any stigma, as there would generally be a supportive and community response to people experiencing this type of trauma, and they are also unlikely to be experienced repetitively over time.

Complex trauma, on the other hand, is often associated with stigma and a sense of shame experienced by the victims. It can involve interpersonal threat, violence and violation and is often found within relationships. Examples of complex trauma include experiences of child abuse, bullying, domestic violence, rape, war and imprisonment.

Developmental trauma is that which is experienced during a time of development, such as childhood trauma, which takes place while the young brain is still developing. Developmental trauma can include children who are neglected, abused, forced to live with family violence or experiencing high parental conflict in the context of separation or divorce.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

 

Advertisements

The difference between ‘stress’ and ‘trauma’

 

It is important to distinguish between ‘stress’ and ‘trauma’ when we are considering childhood trauma and its impact. Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. It is something that challenges our capacity to cope. Everyone has a different capacity to cope and this can be influenced by our family of origin, genetics, training, experience, support networks and more. Stress also isn’t necessarily a bad thing – some amount of stress can be good for us, in that it can help us accomplish tasks or boost our memory, though too much stress is definitely a bad thing.

Alternately, trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. From the stress that accompanies experiences of threat, violence, and life-challenging events comes trauma of an emotional, psychological or physiological nature. A traumatic experience has the ability to overwhelm your capacity to cope, and because we each have a different capacity to cope, there will be many differences in the way we respond to similar levels of trauma or similar traumatising events. As the trauma is so overwhelming, it’s not possible to be resilient to it, and this is where we see the effects of trauma come into play; shutting down feelings, suppressing memories, acting out.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

 

How do we define childhood trauma?

 

Childhood trauma takes many forms – it can be simple, complex or developmental. Childhood trauma itself can be described as the experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects. Trauma can include; emotional, physical or sexual abuse of a child; trauma the child experiences within its environment, such as substance abuse, parental separation or divorce, mentally ill or suicidal household member and domestic violence; the neglect of a child, such as abandonment, or a child’s basic physical or emotional needs being unmet.

The most common causes of childhood trauma are; accidents, bullying/cyberbullying, trauma in the household such as domestic violence, parent with a mental illness, substance abuse or incarcerated, death of a loved one, emotional abuse or neglect, physical abuse or neglect, separation from a parent or caregiver, sexual abuse, stress caused by poverty, sudden and/or serious medical condition, violence (at home, at school, or in the surrounding community), war/terrorism.

Early childhood trauma usually refers to children between the ages of 0 and 6. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we go through the difference between stress and trauma, and other types of trauma.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

 

Reducing the impact of childhood trauma; what can we do?

 

Young children who have suffered through early childhood trauma often grow up to experience difficulties in later life. There is a distinct connection between experiencing early childhood trauma and developing physical and mental health problems as an adult.

When we experience something scary or traumatic, our body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This is all important and necessary when facing real, mortal threats. However, if this happens over and over again, for example through experiencing fear in one’s own home every night, then the effects become health-damaging.

High-quality care and nurturing can work to change the structure of children’s brains and ensure that these damaging effects don’t take hold into their adulthood. Safe, stable and nurturing relationship are important, as well as timely, targeted, developmentally appropriate, trauma-informed interventions through different forms of therapy.

The Wishing Well provides a number of options for therapy so that children and young people can recover from the trauma, abuse and neglect they have suffered and have the opportunity for happy and productive lives. These include; art therapy, play therapy, massage therapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy, music therapy, Heal For Life camps, educational support, tutoring and remedial work, counselling and nutrition support and guidance.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

 

Understanding the effects of early childhood trauma; a short guide

 

Young people can experience early childhood trauma when they seek out love and comfort from their primary caregivers, and this is not available as a result of maltreatment. Maltreatment can refer to physical, emotional or sexual abuse, or emotional and physical neglect.  When this happens, children experience chronic stress, which affects the development of the brain. Maltreatment also affects children’s attachment and can result in insecure or disorganised attachment.

Children whose needs are met by sensitive and available caregivers learn to trust and develop secure attachments. In contrast, children who experience abuse experience care-giving that is frightening. They seek proximity to the caregiver who is also a source of fear, inducing even more anxiety. Children who have been physically or emotionally neglected learn that their fears and needs are not tended to by their caregiver and they lack emotional attunement and regulation. They also tend to cry and remain distressed for longer periods of time than children who have not been neglected. Maltreated children might develop attachment patterns that are avoidant, ambivalent or disorganised. The child might shut down their feelings, or develop exaggerated and attention-seeking behaviours. Disorganised attachment behaviours take the form of controlling behaviours such as bossiness or compulsive care-giving, which can lead to sudden rage in stressful situations, and also swinging quickly between feelings of fear, aggression, rage, depression and helplessness.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

 

Is the child protection system failing New South Wales’ children?

 

A previously secret report by former senior public servant David Tune has been released, only released after the government surrendered to the demands of the upper house. The report looks into NSW’s ‘ineffective and and unsustainable’ child protection system and warns that it is “crisis-driven”, fails the most vulnerable families and does not stop entrenched neglect. It also says the troubled system does not improve the long-term outcomes for children, especially Aboriginal children. The government repeatedly refused to release Mr Tune’s report, claiming it was cabinet in confidence.

The number of children in out-of-home care (OOHC) has doubled in 10 years, there has been a steady growth in the number of children entering OOHC care since 2013, and children are staying there longer. Also, nothing has been done to “arrest the devastating cycles of intergenerational abuse and neglect”.

Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward said the government was implementing the recommendations in the Tune report and there had been a “record level of investment” in the system, and for the first time in a decade the number of children entering care in NSW has fallen.

However, Labor’s spokeswoman for family and community services, Tanya Mihailuk, said Ms Goward should be stood aside over her refusal to release a taxpayer-funded report.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

 

 

Dispelling the myths surrounding foster care; a short guide

 

If you have been considering foster care, you may come across some unfortunate myths surrounding the industry that could put you off the process. There is an urgent shortage of foster carers in Australia right now, and these misconceptions may be contributing to the problem. Here, we outline a few of the myths and give you the facts.

1] “I’m too old to be a foster carer.” You can be a foster carer as long as you are over the age of 21, healthy and capable of looking after a child.

2] “I can’t foster because I’ve never had kids.” This does not stop you from fostering a child. You might be younger, and choose to foster in the short term before you’re ready to start your own family.

3] “I can’t foster because I’m in a same-sex relationship.” This one is simply not true. Families suitable for adoption or foster care are people who can be focused on the child’s needs, people who are empathetic, and are able to provide security. What’s important is the quality of the care, not the relationship status of the carer. Same-sex couples are able to be foster parents, and single people can also be carers.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/