The Effects of Trauma on Children

How Stress and Trauma in Children Go On and On

For years babies were operated on without anesthesia. It was thought that since they had no memories until after about 18 moths, they couldn’t remember the pain and trauma of surgery and wouldn’t suffer any after effects. Luckily, that practice stopped. But as late as 1986, a survey of American hospitals reported that infants up to 15 months old were still not being given anesthesia.

Today, a common belief is held that children will outgrow the stress and trauma they experienced when they were young. Whether they suffered from early surgeries or were victims of violence and abuse, the thought is they will get over it.

But the effects of stress and trauma remain well into adulthood. The devastation they caused on the brain in childhood continue to ravage the adults psychologically, emotionally, and physically.

Childhood traumas are commonly missed when we look at the problems an adult faces. Syndromes like Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lupus, Depression and other systemic illnesses can often find their sources in what happened to the sufferers in childhood.  But because the sources were so far in the past, the links aren’t made.

No matter what happened and how severe that after effects, help is still possible. But as we’ve seen, this doesn’t happen on its own. One needs to find someone who can work with trauma and tease out the childhood source.

Fortunately, Somatic Experiencing® is one of the few techniques that can work with and resolve traumas that happened in infancy before the capacity to remember came online. This sets it apart from other systems that work with trauma from a cognitive level like EMDR, Prolonged Exposure Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.


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