• December 2014/January 2015
  • Vol. 15, No. 11

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Factsheet for Caregivers on Complex Trauma

Complex trauma occurs when a child is exposed to and impacted by one or multiple traumatic events. Caregivers of children who have experienced complex trauma may struggle to facilitate the healing process. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network published a factsheet for parents and caregivers that defines complex trauma and its signs and symptoms, explains its effects, and provides recommendations for how parents can help their children build resilience and recover. 

The factsheet offers information about traumatic reminders—everyday incidents (sounds, smells, feelings) that cause a child to relive a traumatic event from his or her past. These triggers can cause overreactive behavior, intense anxiety, distraction and lack of focus, and other negative outcomes. Complex trauma can create irrational thinking and inaccurate perceptions related to the child's relationship with a caregiver. Because caregivers can also experience feelings of frustration and helplessness, the factsheet outlines coping strategies and provides information on self-care.

Complex Trauma: Facts for Caregivers is available at http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/complex_trauma_caregivers_final.pdf (169 KB).

To learn more about the National Child Trauma Stress Network, visit its website at http://www.nctsn.org/.

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