Clinical Counseling Trauma Informed
One in four women will be traumatized in their own homes at the hand of someone they love. Children living in these homes are also traumatized by the domestic violence they encounter and experience. The Wall Street Journal states that for every soldier returning from war-zones with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, there are 10 children in the United States who are traumatized by exposure to domestic violence, with consequences comparable to those of adult exposure to war-zone violence. Study after study shows that the greatest indicator of childhood resiliency is that child’s relationship with their mom. Therefore, at Genesis, we are focusing our clinical counseling on trauma response in helping these families heal.
Trauma informed response counseling was established at Genesis in 2011 and has been implemented and developed as a cornerstone of clinical counseling since.
The goal of the Genesis Clinical Counseling Program is to provide free, long-term counseling to women and their children who are escaping or have already escaped a home with domestic violence. We help women understand that abuse is unacceptable and provide them with the tools necessary to make the best and safest choices for themselves and their children. Our Clinical Counseling Program consists of a team of Master’s-level therapists who specialize in helping women and children overcome trauma associated with domestic violence. Counseling is geared towards increasing safety in the home, with the ultimate goal of terminating the abusive relationship and developing and maintaining self-sufficiency.
In order to better meet the needs of our clinical counseling clients, Genesis has incorporated the use of trauma informed response to our clinical counseling program as an enhancement to our existing therapy. The goal of utilizing trauma informed response is to effectively treat women and children as victims of trauma. Very often, clients present to our staff a myriad of symptoms that mimic mental illness. However, upon investigation and after collecting a detailed history of their abuse, it is clear that these clients are in fact suffering from the after-shocks of intense trauma in their own homes and not major mental illness. It is our goal to individualize our clinical counseling response to meet the needs of these traumatized women and children to help them recover from extreme abuse.
Our clinical team is currently participating in training with Dr. Bruce Perry of the Child Trauma Academy to develop our response to trauma. We know that traumatized patients present with a broad spectrum of symptoms and we also know that sustained trauma induces changes in brain behavior and activity, beginning as early as in-utero development. While trauma affects a client’s level of emotional development, at any age, early childhood intervention is especially effective in helping young clients recover from abuse.
By identifying each client’s history and frequency of trauma, counselors are able to recognize where clients are developmentally due to these trauma injuries and respond in the most productive way in reference to the effects of trauma on their brains. After gauging a client’s developmental status, counselors may implement therapy tools like art therapy, play therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy to enhance the session. Trauma response is part of our holistic approach to clinical counseling, recognizing the psychological component of abuse but also the potential somatic effects. Trauma therapy is not meant to supersede existing clinical response at Genesis but to complement it and create a wrap-around service to better serve all our clients, adult and child alike.