Referral Service: The San Francisco Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Childhood Trauma

Trauma in Children

A trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience that usually has lasting negative effects. Exposure to violence or unsafe environments, natural disasters, physical, sexual or verbal abuse all constitute traumatic events. Childhood trauma usually refers to the traumatic experiences of a child ages 0 through 6. Children in particular are more vulnerable to the effects of trauma because their brains are still rapidly developing. Early childhood trauma has been associated with a reduced size of brain cortex. It appears that traumatic events have a profound impact on children’s sense of safety and therefore their development.

A Traumatized Child may present with symptoms such as:

  • Confusion & Poor Concentration
  • Fear and Anxiety
  • Anger and Violent behaviors
  • Depression and Withdrawal
  • Numbness
  • Self-harm Behaviors
  • Sexual Acting out
  • Bedwetting
  • Unable to regulate emotions
  • Poor Frustration Tolerance
  • Delayed Development
  • Nightmares and Flashbacks
  • Low IQ
  • Bullying others
  • Inappropriate affect and behaviors
  • Sleep difficulties


Supporting a traumatized child can be a challenge to even the most skillful and loving of parents. They may demonstrate uncharacteristic behaviors that adults may not know to appropriately respond to. Therapy can provide a safe place for the child to explore their fears, fantasies and confusion; while also providing support and gentle guidance to the parents. Successful therapy addresses the emotional needs of the child, and helps the parent/caregiver cope with the challenges as well.

Adults with Childhood Trauma

Unresolved childhood trauma has a way of resurfacing in our adult lives.  Early childhood trauma has a way of unconsciously influencing our adult choices in relationships.  Childhood trauma may hinder our ability to trust others, or to feel safe in relationships, thus creating conflicts we may not be aware of. 

Unresolved childhood trauma may manifest as:

  • Work difficulties
  • Domestic Violence
  • Anger and Violent behaviors
  • Depression and Withdrawal
  • Relationship Challenges
  • Poor Frustration Tolerance
  • Nightmares and Flashbacks
  • Alcohol and Substance Abuse


Adults who have experienced childhood trauma find therapy to be a safe place to explore the emotional and psychological impact of the trauma in their lives. It can often help pave the way for more satisfying relationships, relief from stress or anxiety, increased self-esteem, and a more meaningful everyday experience of reality.

How We Can Help

Childhood Trauma is not a life sentence. Our therapists have experience and training in working with children and adults who have experienced trauma. The approach is unique to you, and respectful of your individual needs. We invite you to peruse our referral list and take the next step in letting go of the trauma that holds you back.

 

 

Referral Service: The San Francisco Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
   
Referral Service: The San Francisco Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Referral Service: The San Francisco Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists Referral Service: The San Francisco Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists Referral Service: The San Francisco Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists