Facts, Tips and Resources to help you help others.

Psychological Needs Disrupted by Trauma

  1. Safety – A person who has experienced trauma loses a sense of the world being a safe, secure place. They feel more vulnerable in the world and may be more fearful in general about their overall safety.

  2. Trust (Trust in self) – A person who has experienced a trauma loses trust in their own ability to make good judgments about others.

    (Trust in others) – A survivor of trauma does not trust others.

  3. Esteem (Self-esteem) – As a result of trauma, the survivor may have a negative sense of self-esteem. They may become very self-critical, hurt themselves, and avoid looking at themselves in the mirror or take care of themselves.

    (Other Esteem) – The survivor may idealize others who they see as stronger or more talented or may degrade and devalue others or simply ignore them.

  4. Intimacy (Self-intimacy) – In order to block pain, survivors of trauma may block their innermost feelings and thoughts.

    (Other Intimacy) – An awareness of human cruelty can lead to avoiding closeness with others in order to avoid further disappointment, hurt, or loss.

  5. Control (Self-control) – Having experienced a trauma, a survivor may feel helpless and unable to take control of their lives, to direct their future, to express their feelings, or to act freely in the world.

    (Other Control) – A survivor may surrender control of their lives to others, give up any sense of an ability to lead others or influence others.

What Can I Do to Help?
(Be creative)

To help child feel safe:

  • Ask them what will make them feel safe.
  • Tell your child you will protect them.
  • Give them a teddy bear or some symbol of comfort.

To help child trust again:

  • Demonstrate that your child has support and people who they can trust. Help them identify them.
  • Explain that though some can’t be trusted there are many good people.

To help child gain self-esteem:

  • Give them jobs/projects to do that will help them to gain confidence.
  • Praise your child often.
  • Ask them what would make them feel good about themselves.

To help child open-up and be capable of intimacy:

  • Tell them what feelings are and give them examples.
  • Model good communication skills and honesty.
  • Acknowledge the thoughts and feelings they express.

To help child feel that they have some control over their lives:

  • Give children coping ideas to protect themselves (What to look for/ whom to go to/ how to respond to demands, etc.)
  • Ask them what they want and help them to get it. (If reasonable.)
  • Show them that they do have control in their lives.
  • Point out times when they did control their lives. (Like having the offender and the abuse identified.)

100 W. 6th Street, Suite 1, Media, PA 19063

Phone 610.268.9145  Fax 610.565.3641


Find us Elsewhere… friend us on Facebook