We have all experienced a lot of challenges in the last few years. While children have shown an incredible amount of resilience, we cannot dismiss the trauma that many have experienced and continue to experience in an unpredictable world. This episode with guest Dr. Cheryl Arutt is all about how to help kids cope with trauma. But first, what exactly is trauma? What distinguishes it from anxiety? And what happens when our bodies forget how to tell when we’re safe?
Dr. Cheryl Arutt is a nationally recognized expert on PTSD and in our conversation today, she shares her expertise and excitement over new trauma treatment. You will learn a great deal about what trauma is, what it does to the body, why even small traumas can be cumulative, and what we can do about it as parents and educators.
[2:35] – Over the last three years, children have shown an incredible amount of resilience, but some have lasting trauma from recent experiences.
[3:41] – Everyone experiences anxiety. But when your nervous system becomes overwhelmed, you can’t tell when you are safe.
[4:58] – With trauma, our brains are dysregulated and this is particularly impactful for children because their brains are still developing.
[6:27] – We have been through so much with the pandemic and the barrage of school shootings. Unpredictability can cause trauma.
[7:58] – It is very reassuring to keep things as predictable as possible in the home.
[9:08] – fMRI was a huge game-changer for trauma treatment and understanding our brains.
[10:44] – Parts of our brains are completely unavailable when you’re dysregulated.
[12:12] – Dr. Arutt shares a beneficial breathing exercise to do when dysregulated that can be done with children.
[13:56] – Under the best circumstances, parenting is hard. With recent challenges, parenting got even tougher. Past trauma can also impact parents.
[15:11] – Fear responses are meant to help in the moment. But when there is constant fear, a child’s brain is not functioning fully.
[16:56] – Dr. Arutt explains how PTSD triggers work.
[17:59] – Seemingly small instances can be traumatizing. Everyone experiences this differently. For those with learning differences, school can be encoded as trauma.
[19:43] – Children don’t learn when they are dysregulated.
[20:32] – Dr. Arutt describes EMDR treatment.
[23:01] – EMDR can be done in groups and can be done with children.
[24:15] – There is a misconception about “big T and little t” traumas. All traumatic experiences need to be addressed.
[25:54] – Small traumas are insidious and cumulative.
[28:04] – Connection protects us from a lot of trauma.
[29:21] – What are some things parents can do to help support children at home and prepare them for the transition back to school?
[31:12] – Dr. Arutt explains the difference between fight and flight.
About Our Guest:
Dr. Cheryl Arutt is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist in private practice specializing in trauma recovery and creative artist issues. Her approach to therapy emphasizes insight, self-awareness, and empowerment to help people have more gratifying lives. Dr. Cheryl is also a nationally recognized expert on PTSD, a sought-after mental health commentator on national TV programs & podcasts, a high-profile speaker and a forensic consultant. She strongly believes in the human capacity to heal from trauma and is a passionate advocate for the understanding of mental health issues both in and beyond the consulting room.
Connect with Dr. Cheryl Arutt:
Links and Related Resources:
- Anxiety and the Family
- Anxiety and Depression in Adolescents
- Episode 8: Mindfulness with Dr. Kathleen Carroll Wray
- Episode 6: Managing Family Stress and Anxiety with Dr. Stephanie Mihalas
Need anxiety and trauma support for your child?
- Psychologists (California)
- Marriage and Family Therapists (California)
- Licensed Clinical Social Workers (California)
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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.