Secondary trauma can occur in groups such as mental health workers and the children of traumatized parents. However, teens can experience secondary trauma through close contact with anyone who has experienced trauma, such as their friends or relatives. Discover what secondary trauma can look like in teens and how to spot the signs, then reach out to Venture Academy today for help.
Secondary Trauma in Teens
Teens are highly susceptible to developing traumatization or secondary trauma, and they are more likely to develop PTSD due to their brains still developing. Nevertheless, secondary trauma is now well understood and can be treated with the right professional help.
Secondary trauma involves someone who was not part of a traumatic event developing traumatization symptoms through close contact with someone who was. For instance, this can include hearing about someone else’s traumatic experience, seeing a friend or relative go through trauma, or volunteering with victims, for example, after a natural disaster.
Another term for secondary trauma is vicarious trauma. The condition is likely to be more profound, the closer your teen is to the person who was traumatized.
A teen who was off school the day of a shooting, for example, may experience vicarious trauma through her friends and classmates, but she may also experience survivor’s guilt. Survivor’s guilt is one symptom of vicarious trauma, but it can be debilitating on its own. Other symptoms of vicarious trauma include:
- Numbness or shock
- Lingering feelings of anger, rage, or sadness
- Substance abuse
- Becoming desensitized to triggers
Nevertheless, there is plenty of support and advice available, and many techniques have been utilized to help teens suffering from secondary trauma.
Teens who are part of a traumatized group may experience transgenerational trauma. For instance, they are affected by the same triggers as someone who experienced the trauma first hand. These teens grow up with vicarious trauma.
Techniques to Help with Secondary Trauma
It can be distressing to see your teen struggle with secondary trauma, but many things can help.
Seeing a therapist is an excellent idea for any teen who is consistently struggling with emotional difficulties. Nevertheless, some teens may prefer to try techniques like keeping a journal or mindfulness before seeing a therapist. These coping strategies can be useful if your teen is reluctant to talk to anyone, or if they just need more time to open up.
Breathing exercises and yoga may also help; however, the effects of these activities are cumulative, meaning your teen will gain the most from a regularly maintained habit. Nevertheless, any breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation will help, even in short or irregular amounts.
Some other activities that may help are colouring, sport, and contact with nature.
Contact Venture Academy Today
At Venture Academy, we value the individual. We customize your teen’s treatment plan, and we’ll even make sure they don’t miss out on their education. Our teachers are specially qualified to work with troubled teens, and at Venture Academy, we see education as a way forward.
We offer a variety of programs, such as:
- Drug and alcohol program
- Electronic addiction program
- Behavioural treatment program
- 30-day assessment and intervention
- School and educational programs
Venture Academy programs incorporate all your teen’s academics, peer support, experiential learning, and holistic therapies, alongside traditional medicine.
With three campuses across Canada, Venture Academy will be there for you and your troubled teen. We have facilities in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.
Seeing your teen struggle to come to terms with something is heartbreaking, but we are ready to help. If you want to discuss secondary trauma, or any other concern, with a friendly professional, call Venture Academy at 866.762.2211.