Does it hurt to ask children about trauma? Part II

Last week, I asked the question in two LinkedIn groups, and received over 20 reactions from mental health clinicians. Their answers were very consistent, and contained a couple of main messages:

  • It doesn’t hurt to ask about trauma. These clinicians were more worried about not asking about trauma.
  • It is important to let children talk about their potential traumatic history in their own words and in their own time.
  • Clinicians should make sure that they have the appropriate skills to engage in trauma-related conversations with children. Some of the LinkedIn members saw clinicians being afraid of discussing trauma as an important area for improvement of care.
  • If you are a mental health clinician wanting to learn about discussing traumatic exposure or posttraumatic stress reactions with children and adults, the online trauma focused CBT training is a good start.
  • When asked, many children and youths are remarkably open about their experiences.

Next time, I will describe the instrument to systematically measure children’s reactions to questions about trauma in research: the Response to Research Participation Questionnaire for Children and Parents (RRPQ-C and RRPQ-P, available in English and Dutch)!

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