Download the notes and presentations from Dr. Lyn Westman’s workshops from CAFO2015.
Causes and Responses to Grief and Trauma in Children
Though grief and trauma are experienced the world over, children from developing nations experience these events in some form on an almost daily basis. Life-threatening situations and illnesses are common, but in addition there are many other types of losses that may lead to grief. Some events such as sudden death, experiencing a natural disaster, or living in an environment of war, are understood globally as trauma. But situations such as becoming an orphan, moving in with extended family, child labor, or moving to a different country may also produce symptoms of trauma in a child. There are many variables that contribute to how a child experiences the traumatic event. The age of the child, whether or not the child has a healthy support system, the child’s self-esteem, the developmental level, and whether or not the child has experienced trauma previously all affect the child’s outcome. Though symptoms of trauma may vary according to age, there really is no limit on the range of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that might be experienced by a child who has been traumatized. (Dr. Lyn Westman, Mercy Ships and Tributaries International)
Grief and Trauma Healing Approaches for Children
Recognizing that no two children are alike, and no traumatic experience is the same, there are several ways in which children may find healing from grief and trauma. With a basic understanding of developmental levels, learning styles, counseling skills, and the child’s unique personality and coping mechanisms, compassionate adults can provide a safe and nurturing environment in which the child may not only heal but live an abundant life. (Dr. Lyn Westman, Mercy Ships and Tributaries International)