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Effects Of Children Who Experienced Traumatic Grief At Ages 6 10 Versus Ages 11 15 On Degree Of Depression

1555 words - 7 pages

Nader and Salloum (2011) made clear that, at different ages, children differ in their understanding of the universality, inevitability, unpredictability, irreversibility, and causality of death. They believed, despite the increasing understanding with age of the physical aspects of death, a child may simultaneously hold more than one idea about the characteristics of death. However, factors that complete the determining nature of childhood grieving across different age groups may be a difficult task for a number of reasons including their environment in means of the support they have available, the child’s nature in terms of their personality, genetics, and gender, coping skills and previous experiences, the developmental age, grieving style, whether or not therapy was received, and the relationship to the deceased (Nader & Salloum, 2011). Crenshaw (2005) found that according to our current understanding of childhood traumatic grief and normal grief, thoughts and images of a traumatic nature are so terrifying, horrific, and anxiety provoking that they cause the child to avoid and shut out these thoughts and images that would be comforting reminders of the person who died. The distressing and intrusive images, reminders, and thoughts of the traumatic circumstances of the death, along with the physiological hyper-arousal associated with such re-experiencing, prevent the child from proceeding in a healthy way with the grieving process (Crenshaw, 2005). McClatchy, Vonk, and Palardy (2009) added that the pain of a child’s grief cannot be resolved unless posttraumatic stress symptoms are processed first. Their study examined the prevalence of childhood traumatic grief and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms among parentally bereaved children. The results showed younger children having significantly higher scores on the posttraumatic stress disorder scale than older children with African American children exhibiting grief symptoms to a significantly higher degree than white children. The study strongly suggests the importance of professionals who work with parentally bereaved children to assess their clients for childhood traumatic grief and posttraumatic stress symptoms in order to provide the appropriate interventions and achieve positive treatment results. Neglecting either phenomenon may lead to unaddressed symptoms in bereaved children which unfortunately may persist into adulthood (McClatchy et al., 2009).
Crenshaw (2005) made clear that traumatized children are usually reluctant to share their private thoughts, feelings, and fantasies, but just as often, they lack the communication skills to both identify and label sometimes frightening inhabitants of their inner world. In addition, they often feel their inner world is too scary to share with another, even trusted person. The projective drawings and storytelling strategies along with the evocative techniques described in his article are intended to offer clinicians’ additional tools to deal...

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