By Mary Beth Medvide, Ph.D.

Trauma can take many forms, such as being in a car accident or witnessing violence. It can also include the experience of being mistreated, bullied, as well as physical or sexual assaulted. Trauma can happen at any point in the lifespan, starting in infancy and continuing until old age. Traumatic events can happen a single time or repetitively throughout one’s life. These are events or situations that are scary, confusing, or life-threatening. For teenagers, trauma in teens can impede the achievement of developmental milestones. It can also have a negative effect on academic performance, peer relationships, and several other areas of their lives. That is why it is important to address trauma in teens through Therapy for Teens in Arlington, MA with us here at The Bain Health and Wellness Center

What is Trauma?

A teen boy sits down on a beach with his hands covering his face. Wondering if Therapy for Teens in Arlington, MA can help your teen? Speak with a teen therapist in MA to see how trauma in teens is affecting your teen.

Trauma affects teens in many ways. They may experience mood swings or become sad and withdrawn. They may also have physical symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping. Sometimes teens may re-experience the trauma through flashbacks where they relive what happened. Other teens may not remember the details of what happened, or their memories of the event may be confusing.  It’s also common to avoid situations that remind a person of a trauma, such as not wanting to drive on the same road where an accident happened. It’s possible to have strong negative reactions to things a person hears, sees, or smells without understanding why.

Our brains sometimes form connections between the traumatic situation in the past and what’s going on now in ways that are not obvious to us or those around us. After a traumatic experience, teens may do reckless things or cope in unhealthy ways, such as drinking or doing drugs. They may appear emotionally numb and lose interest in friendships and day-to-day activities. This is why getting help early, if a teen is presenting symptoms of trauma, is essential. 

What Does Therapy for Trauma in Teens Look Like?

Therapy can help teens make sense of what happened. It can also help teens cope with the symptoms of the trauma and find ways to move forward in life. Therapy often starts with psychoeducation about what trauma is and how it can affect people. Some people may be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after a traumatic event. PTSD is a diagnosis given when an individual has a prolonged reaction to a traumatic event they experienced, and this reaction causes significant distress and challenges in their lives.

PTSD can impact a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in ways that are hurtful or unhelpful. This is one possible diagnosis. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will be diagnosed with PTSD. Some people may experience sadness, grief, depression, or anxiety. People bounce back from trauma in different ways and in different amounts of time. There is no set timeframe for healing from the effects of trauma.  

A teen girl client sits down with her female therapist on a couch, Want to learn how Therapy for Teens in Arlington, MA can help your teen? Speak with a teen therapist to learn how therapy helps trauma in teens in Arlington, MA.

Strategies for Healing through Therapy for Teens

After learning more about what trauma is and how it affects people, teens may work with a qualified therapist to understand how the trauma has impacted their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. A therapist will help the teen to determine if their thoughts about the trauma are unhelpful or unhealthy, such as blaming themselves or feeling guilty for something someone else did. If these unhelpful thoughts are present, the therapist guides the teen in replacing them with more adaptive and constructive thoughts.

Therapy may also include exposure to memories of the trauma with the goal of helping the teen to become less overwhelmed emotionally when thinking about what happened or less likely to avoid upsetting situations. Teens will learn coping skills, such as deep breathing or grounding techniques, that are meant to help them better recognize and work through intense emotions using healthy and safe strategies. In some cases, therapy may also include exposure to a physical situation or object that reminds individuals of the traumatic event to help them overcome avoidance and participate more fully in daily activities. 

Your Role as a Supportive Parent: How Can You Help Your Teen

A woman comforts her teen daughter. Is trauma in teens in Arlington, MA affecting your teen? Therapy for Teens in Arlington, MA can help them move past their trauma. Reach out today!

Parents and caregivers are also an active part of therapy when helping a teen heal from trauma. They can also benefit from psychoeducation about what trauma is and how to best help their teen. Supporting a teen can include emotional support around the symptoms of trauma and assistance using coping skills at home. Therapy sessions can help teach parents strategies to use when a teen struggles behaviorally and emotionally. While offering guidance on adjusting parenting strategies. At times, sessions may involve both the teen and caregivers, allowing the family to work together through the effects of the trauma and plan for the future. In general, there are effective therapeutic approaches, such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), that can help teens and families cope with the trauma, overcome the distress they are experiencing, and move forward with their lives. 

Navigate Trauma in Teens Through Therapy for Teens in Arlington, MA Today!

If your teen has experienced trauma and is struggling to cope, Therapy for Teens can provide the support and tools they need to heal. Our experienced therapists at The Bain Health and Wellness Center specialize in navigating trauma in teens. We help teens understand and process their experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Through Therapy for Teens in Arlington, MA, teens can learn to replace unhelpful thoughts, build resilience, and develop healthy coping skills. Take the first step towards your teen’s healing journey by following the steps below:

Other Therapy Services Offered at The Bain Health and Wellness Center in Arlington, MA, and Throughout Massachusetts

If you believe your teen shows signs of trauma and could benefit from mental health treatment, reach out to The Bain Health and Wellness Center (BainHWC). We offer in-person and virtual therapy for teens experiencing trauma, depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism, OCD, and more. All mental health therapists at BainHWC are trained in evidence-based treatment, such as TF-CBT, and have several years of experience working with children, teens, and young adults.