Many people hear the term PTSD and think of veterans. Well, PTSD can affect people a lot closer to home then the battlefield. Efrat Linkovski, the National Supervisor of Treatments for Children services of the Israeli Welfare Department came to speak to the Susan’s House staff. She explained what PTSD was and how & why our teens may be affected.
PTSD is a change in the psyche made after regular instances of trauma. The brain “rewires” itself to react to certain situations to best protect itself. In the case of abused teens, they may freeze, tense-up or shut down when a situation reminds them of their abuse – even if the situation they are in now is not threatening.
During the discussion one of the counselors shared about a teen he is working with who could not be criticized without an adverse reaction. He said he was teaching this teen a new technique and at one point said to him in a calm voice “no, let me show you” and the teen started visibly shaking and apologizing. Efrat told us that a teen like that is taken mentally straight back to where he was being abused. In those moments he is reliving whatever trauma continuously came after being criticized.
Is there any hope? Can they get through it? Yes, with therapy, love, encouragement and patience these teens can work through the trauma and come out stronger on the other side. We need to show them that it is not the norm to be traumatized because you did or said something wrong.