Helping Children Heal From Trauma
Children may experience anxiety, depression, and withdrawal from normal activities, in response to a potentially traumatic event.
Children also may develop behavior problems, as they have difficulty managing their feelings and thoughts about what happened to them. Some problems may be very specific to the abuse. He or she may avoid locations where the abuse occurred (such as a bathroom, bedroom, or school) to avoid a feeling of re-experiencing the abuse.
In addition, a child may attempt to cope by using drugs and alcohol or engaging in other “risky” behaviors.
The consequences of untreated traumatic stress can affect a child’s success in school or their relationships with friends and family, and this can continue to impact an individual throughout his or her life.
Our therapists utilize the treatment modality of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), which is an evidenced-based practice that is proven to be effective and sanctioned by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
- TF-CBT is a short-term therapeutic modality that is designed and proven to be effective to help children ages 3-17 and their non-offending caregivers overcome the impact of traumatic events.
- A mental health assessment by a Will County Children's Advocacy Center trauma-focused therapist will provide information about how the abuse has impacted the child, and what next steps to take towards healing.
- Our dedicated trauma-focused therapists create a comfortable, safe space for clients to identify and overcome challenges, develop positive coping skills, build healthy relationships, and tell their trauma stories.
Because each child responds to trauma differently, individual therapy services begin by therapists working collaboratively with children and non-offending caregivers in order to identify specific trauma-related symptoms, which may include nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, dissociation, hyper-vigilance, self-blame, aggression, low self-esteem, hyperactivity, &/or depression. This collaborative effort continues throughout the course of treatment, as our therapists work to establish and maintain a healthy, trusting relationship with children and families.
During weekly therapy sessions, therapists work alongside children and non-offending caregivers while they overcome the trauma of abuse, build a positive self-image, learn healthy coping & emotional regulation skills, and establish healthy relationships with members of their support system.
Therapeutic Support Groups (Bilingual)
Aside from individual therapy services, our mental health professionals facilitate weekly support groups for children, teens, and parents/caregivers.
Each group follows a 6-week curriculum cycle with different activities available throughout the calendar year. All groups welcome drop-in participants on an “as needed’ basis.
- Child Play Therapy Group (Ages 3-7)
Developmentally age-appropriate for children who have been directly or indirectly impacted by physical abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence. Art and play therapy activities are used to increase the understanding of healthy boundaries and safety, and improve self-esteem and emotional management skills. For children (ages of 3-7) who have been directly or indirectly impacted by physical abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence. This group uses art and play therapy activities to increase understanding of healthy boundaries and safety, improve self-esteem and emotional management skills.
- Child Support Group (Ages 8-11)
For children who have been directly or indirectly impacted by physical abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence. This group utilizes creative, artistic therapeutic techniques to increase understanding of healthy boundaries and safety, improve
self-esteem and coping mechanisms.
- Teen Support Group (Ages 12-17)
For youth who are learning how to manage and cope with physical abuse, sexual abuse, or other personal challenges and/or trauma. This group provides a supportive peer environment that can help foster increased self-esteem and the development of healthy
- Parent/Caregiver Support Group
For non-offending parents/caregivers of children who have been impacted by abuse. Provides normalization experiences, parenting skills, and support, in a caring environment to begin the healing process and support your child through their healing.
Help us continue to provide hope, healing & justice for abused children.
Last year, the Will County Children's Advocacy Center served more than 660 Will County children (and their non-offending family members) who were sexually abused, severely physically abused, or who had witnessed a violent crime.
Children who have been victimized, and receive services are less likely to: abuse drugs or alcohol, grow up to become victims of domestic violence, become involved in some sort of criminal activity, suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder, and/or develop suicidal ideation and self-harm.
Your financial gift can make a profound difference in changing a child’s life.