Many children, adolescents, and adults were subjected to child abuse in some form during their formative years, which is heartbreaking.
Child abuse is defined as “non-accidental trauma or physical injury caused by punching, kicking, beating, biting, burning or otherwise harming a child”.
Some parents justify their violent behavior by saying that it is just discipline, but true abuse can become extremely traumatic to children and stay with them for the rest of their lives.
If you or a loved one experienced trauma or abuse as a child, you can find hope and healing by talking with a child abuse psychotherapist in your area.
Reports of child abuse are handled by the Department of Social Services or Child Protective Services and may or may not become a part of the criminal justice system depending on the severity and frequency of the abuse occurrences.
Sometimes these agencies determine that it is best for the child to be separated from the parent or another adult figure who has perpetrated the abuse and put into group homes or foster care for a certain period of time or until their home situation has changed.
While the intention of foster care and group homes is to provide a safe place for healing and just living a normal life, that is not always the case and it is possible for further trauma to occur here.
Children who have suffered abuse might struggle to pinpoint the root of their childhood trauma because they might have suppressed their memories or they could have developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The effects of PTSD can follow children into adulthood, but talking with a licensed therapist specializing in childhood trauma and PTSD can provide a path to healing. Some of the factors that contribute to PTSD are:
- Degree of perceived personal threat
- The developmental state of the child (younger children cannot understand and interpret the effects of the traumatic situation as easily as older children)
- The relationship of the victim to the perpetrator
- The level of emotional support the victim has in his day-to-day life
- A feeling of responsibility for the attack is thought to exacerbate the changes of PTSD
- The innate ability to cope
- An elevated heart rate post abuse increases the likelihood that the victim will suffer from PTSD
Reaching out to a therapist for childhood abuse and PTSD counseling will help to reduce the effects of trauma and help the child or adult suffering to return to normal life.
There is hope and healing is possible, no matter how deep the wounds. There are people like Dr. Lynn Winsten in Berkeley who you can trust with your story.