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06 Sep '23

How to Connect with Children and Young People Affected by Trauma

Posted by Carolyn in News

In 2022, we held an informative conference on attachment and trauma, which was filled with knowledge updates, ideas and practical strategies for supporting children and young people affected by trauma.

In this blog, I am going to share some of the thoughts & key advice from one of the conference keynote speakers, Lisa Cherry on connecting with children and young people affected by trauma

“Relationships ARE the intervention. Whatever the setting. Keep it simple.”

What you may not realise, is that the positive relationships you create with children and young people, can have a huge impact on trauma recovery.

As human’s, we are designed to belong, and relationships are central to our sense of belonging.

Relationships can create space for co-regulation, connection and promote positive emotional well-being and communication.

One in six children aged 5 to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2021, a huge increase from one in nine in 2017. That’s five children in every classroom

Often times, children and young people will be struggling but are unable to initiate these conversations, they might feel like they don’t have anyone to talk to or maybe they’re just unsure how.

Smiling Girl Hands Outstretched.jpg

Once you have created a relationship, you can start having the conversations that make a difference.

Lisa Cherry outlined the 6 key principles to a trauma informed approach to these conversations.

  1. Safety
  2. Trustworthiness and transparency
  3. Peer support
  4. Collaboration and mutuality
  5. Empowerment voice and choice
  6. Cultural, historical and gender issues

Adopting a trauma informed approach is not accomplished through any single technique, it requires constant attention and sensitivity, however it is good to have an understanding of the framework.

Here’s some examples of what you can avoid and use in conversations.

Instead of using jargon or words children and young people don’t understand, speak in clear, easy-to-understand sentences. This ensures you are not re-enforcing the power imbalance.

Don’t place your opinion on a child. Instead of thinking “they are not able to perform well in the classroom”, go by the facts, “this child finds the school environment challenging but has lots of skills which mean they could succeed in a different education setting”.

Finally, remind yourself that if something makes sense to you, it might not make sense to the person reading. You could try reading things back, reading out loud or even reading in different voices.

These are just a few ways to approaching conversations with trauma informed practice. By sticking to the key principles, you can create space for children and young people to connect and enter into meaningful conversations.

Forthcoming Events

If you would like to hear more knowledge updates and great practice here’s a couple of great professional development events:

See Me – I am Here: More on Childhood Trauma and Recovery
23rdOctober 2023, Glasgow

Exploring Sexual Behaviour in Children and Young People
7thNovember 2023, North Wales

Half Day Training Course - Supporting Children & Young People Displaying Problematic or Harmful Sexual Behaviour: Intervention and Assessment.
14thNovember, Glasgow

Half Day Training Course - Supporting Autistic Children and Young People Displaying Problematic or Harmful Sexual Behaviour.
14th November, Glasgow

Both Courses: Supporting Children Displaying Problematic or Harmful Sexual Behaviour
14thNovember, Glasgow

Awesome CPD Events for teachers, social care workers and health professionals.

Book now