Many children also experience multiple traumas. This term means children are exposed to more than one trauma. It is commonly invasive, interpersonal, and has diverse long-term effects. They are severe and have a great impact on the child’s development. It interferes with their cognition and perception and can distort their sense of self. Most of the time such repeated traumatic event like sexual abuse occurs with caregivers so the child has difficulty in forming secure attachments with others in later life. Some common characteristics of complex trauma are:

Complex traumas can be very damaging. It includes traumas like neglect, substance abuse, child abuse, community violence, and vulnerable environments. Many situations are causing complex trauma and are repeated. It may be due to a parent or caregiver’s own past traumatic experiences. Such parents can suffer from mental illness, drugs, and substance abuse and can be physically or emotionally unavailable towards the child. Children suffering from domestic, family violence, civil unrest, war trauma sexual exploitation, and trafficking can suffer from Childhood complex trauma. Adults can also suffer from complex trauma. 

Children who live in a vulnerable environment and lack the support of families are more prone to develop complex trauma. Such Children have poor social support, therefore, form a certain coping mechanism for survival. For instance, such environments make children sensitive and they have an issue trusting others. They may also be afraid of others and their behaviors. Children who suffer from complex trauma also are afraid of sharing their true feelings. If this trauma is severe, it can also interfere with the child’s ability to form secure relationships in the future. Moreover, Complex trauma can affect children in many other ways these are: 

  1. Forming attachments and relationships:
  2. Physiological health difficulties (rapid heart beating etc.)
  3. Neurological imbalances
  4. Inappropriate emotional responses
  5. Dissociative behaviors
  6. Maladaptive behaviors (may be dangerous to oneself or society)
  7. Cognitive distortions (inability to think clearly)
  8. Lack of self-concept and self-worth
  9. Long-term health consequences

Some of the therapies that can provide are:

  1. TF-CBT (Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
  2. CPP (Child-Parent Psychotherapy)