chapter  2
Understanding Posttraumatic Symptoms Through the Eyes of a Child
WithJoanne Zucchetto, Simone Jacobs, Ly Vick Johnson
Pages 31

This chapter focuses on the process of being curious about our clients’ experiences and behaviors and making sense of their lives in a collaborative way. From this more engaged and non-pathologizing position, we are led to a deeper understanding of the function and meaning of suicidality and many other challenges trauma clients bring to therapy. For example, we trace a suicidal crisis to its origins in their traumatic childhood and we try to see suicidality through the eyes of that child who is hurt, afraid, and alone – with no one to help make sense of or soothe the pain – and with no other option than to “want to not be here.” When we approach trauma treatment in this manner, the client’s symptoms, self-destructive behaviors, relationship problems as well as their corresponding coping strategies take on a different meaning. The client is no longer a sick person being treated by a mental health professional but one of two people in the room working together to connect the dots as a way of building a more healthy and happy life.