As I wrote in my book, 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child, children who have a history of emotional trauma may exhibit oppositional behavior as a response to their past experiences. I have worked with a considerable amount of children, teens, and adults with trauma histories, including sexual abuse. Some of these individuals have presented accounts of horrific abuse. It is deeply, intrisically satisfying to have clients who are victms of abuse, trust and open up with me.
Individuals who have been hurt, betrayed, and abused have the right to be angry and resentful. These are normal reactions and emotions when feeling the crushed spirit that can come from being disrespected or abused. If not dealt with, such angry reactions can damage personal health on several levels: These include killer cell cytotoxicity, autoimmune suppression, disruption of personal relationships, Acute Coronary Syndrome, and consequent increased mortality.
Robert Grant, Ph.D., a lecturer on traumatized individuals who experienced military horrors, 9-11-2001 stress, the aftermath of violent crime, and the painful baggage of sexual abuse, states "Suffering is the only thing powerful enough to wake you up to reality."
Working through trauma can be a very long, painful road. I have seen over and over from my counseling clients who are victims of abuse, that it is crucial that they work through the stages of anger and forgiveness, to move forward in the healing process.
Below are some key points that promote emotional healing from trauma:
Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein is a psychologist with over twenty-two years’ experience specializing in child, adolescent, couples, and family therapy. He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany and completed his post doctoral internship at the University of Pennsylvania Counseling Center. He has appeared twice on the Today Show, Court TV as an expert advisor, CBS eyewitness news Philadelphia, 10! Philadelphia—NBC and public radio. Dr. Bernstein has authored four books, including the highly popular 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child (Perseus Books, 2006), 10 Days to Less Distracted Child (Perseus Books 2007), Liking the Child You Love (Perseus Books 2009) and Why Can’t You Read My Mind? (Perseus Books 2003).