Today’s child therapy intervention is another assessment to use with individuals in my personally favorite population, traumatized and abused children.
In many trauma treatments, it is encouraged that therapists have their clients re-tell their trauma history through a trauma narrative. It is thought that creating a trauma narrative can be therapeutic and healing for child survivors of trauma and abuse.
This intervention IS NOT a trauma narrative. The trauma narrative is generally encouraged to be done mindfully, when the client is ready, and closer to the end of treatment. It is especially important that a trauma narrative is done intentionally in child therapy. There have been accounts that trauma narratives, when done prematurely, can re-traumatize clients.
This intervention IS an assessment measure. This intervention can be used initially in treatment in order to clarify a child’s perspective of their life experiences. This is a way to get a child’s baseline of their understanding, not to fully process and go deep into their trauma.
Here is what you need for the intervention:
-Free Trauma Timeline Assessment
Tell the client that today you will be working together to create a timeline of their life. Invite the child to write the information if they feel comfortable or you can write as well.
With the child, go through their life from birth until now. Have the child describe where they lived at each age, who they lived with, and any important events that happened at that age.
Honestly, I’ve had children become very frustrated with this activity and state that it is very redundant.
However, on the other hand, I have had child clients disclose incredibly helpful information that guides treatment. This includes former abuse, events that the family didn’t disclose to me, and a greater perspective on what’s going on in my kiddo’s brain!
This is a great intervention that can be used with children and adolescents of all ages and backgrounds. It can also be helpful with children with difficulties other than trauma.
Hope you enjoy using the Trauma Timeline child therapy intervention and assessment! Tell me your experiences with creative trauma assessments below.