Finding Help for Teens with PTSD

More than ⅔ of children report having experienced at least one traumatic event by the age of 16. Trauma is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of negative experiences that can have a significant psychological and developmental impact. This can especially impact young children who do not have the skills to cope with the distress, react appropriately, and move forward with their lives. Not everyone experiences traumatic stress the same way or for the same length of time. Finding help for teens with PTSD is essential for them to make sense of their past experiences and regain a sense of control over their future. 

How does Trauma Affect Teens?

Because trauma refers to such a wide range of experiences and traumatic stress can include a wide range of symptoms, help for teens with PTSD should be individualized based on their experiences. While grief and loss looks different for everyone, they all have a similar ability to affect our ability to cope with what life throws at us. Trauma shapes one’s outlook on life, provides a model for unhealthy relationships. It contributes to high levels of depression and anxiety, and destabilizes one’s sense of self. Adolescence is all about exploring “who am I” and “who am I supposed to be.” For teens who have experienced trauma, it can easily take over their personal narrative. They may come to see trauma as part of their fate or their personality. Additionally, it may be hard for them to shake the sense of being traumatized from their core. 

Teens who struggle with PTSD are more likely to use substances, struggle to manage feelings of anger, and to withdraw from relationships because they have trouble coping with their pain. Trauma-focused therapy acknowledges that other symptoms may be a response to experiences. It also takes a person-centered approach to healing. While it focuses on making sense of past experiences, the goal is be able to separate your past from your future and to let go of the pain it has caused rather than overanalyze the events themselves. It focuses on how trauma affects one’s belief system rather than dictates life experiences.

Benefits of Trauma-Focused Therapy

  • Allows individuals to process painful experiences.
  • Helps identify triggers.
  • Helps re-establish a sense of safety.
  • Encourages mindfulness practices.
  • Works on developing healthy coping skills.
  • Educates individuals about how trauma impacts them.
  • Helps decrease symptoms of traumatic stress.

How Elevations Can Help

Elevations RTC is an all gender residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18 that helps students struggling with trauma and other mental health issues. Our goal is to help students process their past experiences and learn how to manage their emotions.  We utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). In our strong peer culture model, other students help support those struggling with PTSD and other issues. Elevations RTC uses a holistic approach which allows students to see how all of the aspects of their lives connect to each other. We emphasize building social skills and self-esteem to help students move forward and develop healthier coping strategies.

For information about finding help for teens with trauma, call today!

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