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The Impact of Trauma in Young Children

Toddlers and preschoolers are eager to make the world their own. These little scientists enthusiastically experiment to learn about themselves and what is important in their lives. Trauma dampens their excitement and capacity for exploration.

Young Children

Created by Saralyn Ruff, PhD and Loong Kwok, PsyD. Dr. Ruff is the Director of the Foster Care Research Group and Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of San Francisco, and is co-editor of Relationship-based Psychotherapy for Children, Adolescents and Young Adults. She has worked with foster youth in a variety of settings and written extensively about the issues facing foster families.

Dr. Kwok is the former Director of Education and Training at A Home Within, as well as the Director of Child Services at the Access Institute. He is interested in integrating psychodynamic theory with other areas of study, such as neuroscience, community mental health, and popular culture.

The content of the Curriculum trainings are based on relationship based therapy and practices, developed by the mental health team of A Home Within and Dr. Toni Heineman, author of Relational Treatment of Trauma and co-editor of Relationship Based Psychotherapy for Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults.

About the Training

Young children who have been traumatized are frequently too anxious or fearful to engage in the healthy exploration that leads to mastery and satisfaction.

This training reviews current research about the effects of trauma, and organizes its impact along four aspects of development — physical, cognitive, social, and emotional. It then provides examples and suggestions about how to respond in ways that promote growth and healthy relationships.

At the end of this training you will:

  • Learn why saying “no” and “mine” are signs of healthy development
  • Understand the ways in which trauma interferes with healthy exploration
  • Learn strategies for helping young children affected by trauma find their footing

A review of typical physical development opens the first section, followed by a review of the impact of trauma on young children’s physical development. The section then explores ways that caregivers can promote physical development using physicality, thinking, relationships, and feelings. The next sections follow this same format for cognitive, social, and emotional development.

This training is designed to help non-clinicians understand the effects of trauma and respond in ways that promote growth and healthy relationships.

Get your certificate here.

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