Personal Practice Framework Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:


Working with Traumatic Children

Working with Traumatic Children

Children are very vulnerable to many life circumstances, and they are the ones who get affected the most by some of these experiences. They also respond to different environments genuinely and uniquely which is among the reasons that make working with them in the social practice field interesting. When children are subjected to traumatic experiences, they often suffer from a condition which is known as Children Traumatic Stress (CTS) or at times some get diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Bonanno, 2004). As children get exposed to these traumas, they typically develop some reactions which may be persistent and end up impacting their everyday lives even after the traumatic events are no longer existent. It is, therefore, critical for social workers to come in and assist these children in time to avoid long-lasting detrimental effects on their lives and enable them to be resilient while living a positive post-traumatic growth (Bonanno, 2004). Following this, the paper will discuss an integrated framework that can be utilized when working with children with trauma. The paper will also evaluate the ways that my beliefs, values, assumptions, and knowledge will guide how I will work with children who have trauma.

Background Information

Children may be exposed to various types of trauma; for example unforeseeable, predictable, and crossover types of trauma. Therefore, it is essential for social workers to understand the type of trauma that the child or children are experiencing before adopting a particular framework of working with them (Amos et al., 2011). It is also crucial to note that some types of trauma such as sexual abuse typically impacts the development of the brain and may also impact some of the primary hormonal systems. The children with trauma may also exhibit poor academic performance, destabilized emotions, and may also acquire some detrimental mental problems which may continue to affect them even as they progress into adulthood (Amos et al., 2011). Following this, my chosen framework would be the integrated integration framework which combines various elements of trauma-informed approaches to enhance the trauma resilience of the children and their positive post-traumatic growth (Amos et al., 2011).

Integrated Interventions Framework

The integrated framework that is my framework when working with children who have trauma is composed of various approaches. These strategies include NMT, phased interventions, and the whole systems approach. This framework is in line with the different principles of the trauma-informed approaches like transparency and trustworthiness, collaboration, cultural competence, as well as focusing on the strengths of the children.

Phased Intervention

Phased intervention is based on the Judith Herman Framework which begins with safety, remembrance, and mourning, as well as reconnection. As it has been highlighted earlier, children are very vulnerable, and thus they need to be handled as such. Until these children feel safe and are safe, it would be difficult for them to recover from trauma effectively (Edwards et al., 2003). Therefore, as a social worker, it would be essential to create the feeling of safety for these children with trauma especially those who mistrust adults and therefore are likely resist their support. Typically, the traumatized children tend to present a particular behavior which may evoke anger and fear in the adults, yet these are the same adults who are expected to create that warmth sense so that these children could feel safe (Edwards et al., 2003).

The next step of the framework is remembrance and mourning where the children need to be allowed to like relive the experience but actively and come out in a better emotional space. In doing this, the children will be enabled to regulate the impulses and emotions whereby they are offered the support to recognize their emotions and that of others and take responsibility for their actions without feeling like they are being overwhelmed by shame (Gomez, Carol & Yassen, 2007). Lastly, the next element in the framework is helping the child to reconnect which is with oneself and the society that they are a part of as well. In doing this, as a social worker, I would help the children to develop the capacity to self-regulate and how to be accountable which will then amount to assisting them to be safe (Gomez, Carol & Yassen, 2007). This will, in the long run, assist the child to develop some positive relationships with others as well. The process will also entail helping the children to understand the effects of trauma on their lives so that they can be in a position to develop competence as well as invest some significant amount of time in developing their futures and in the process, reconnect as well.

Whole System Approach

The primary aim of this whole system approach when working with the children who have trauma s to show support and care for these children which would, in the end, empower them to be resilient as well as experience a positive growth even after experiencing traumatic events in their lives (Laszlo & Cooperrider, 2010). As it will be discussed later in the paper, my personal beliefs, values, assumptions, and knowledge will in one way or the other impact how I work with the children with trauma. Following this, my histories and background knowledge will shape the type of care and the approach that I implement in the process.

In utilizing this whole systems approach, one of the most important aspects would be to develop the capacity of the children to regulate their emotions when it comes to dealing with loss so that they can invest and envisage in building a positive future for themselves. One of the therapies that can be useful in this approach is the Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) which has been widely used in helping the children with trauma (Laszlo & Cooperrider, 2010). This will be most effective if the children are dysregulated or are unable to stabilize and control their emotions when they are in a social environment (Laszlo & Cooperrider, 2010). This being a common characteristic of the children who have been subjected to trauma, this therapy will be an effective entity of the whole systems approach described in my framework.

This whole systems approach will assist the social worker to help the children become integrated into the society, and it would also guide the professional to give the appropriate care at the right time. Additionally, it will enable the social worker to evaluate the factors that contribute to the child having some dysregulated distress which is a critical component when working with children who have been traumatized (Savage et al., 2010). I would also advise the caregivers of these children to take them in schools that are trauma-sensitive. This is following the fact that although some teachers may know the history of a particular child regarding being exposed to trauma, some children will always hide some aspects of that trauma. Therefore, taking children to schools that are trauma-sensitive will enable also enhance the capacity of the child to live a positive life after trauma and at the same time prevent the risks of harming the undramatized children as well.

Neuro-sequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT)

One of the therapies that could be useful in assisting children with trauma which is engulfed in the integrated intervention is the Neuro-sequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT). This approach follows the fact that when children are exposed to trauma, their brain gets so much affected and in turn, their normal body functioning is put in jeopardy (Vaughan, McCullough & Burnell, 2016). NMT is an intervention which emphasizes that the intervention of traumatized children needs to be by the various neurobiological principles. The effect of trauma is dependent on severity and type of trauma, the child’s age, as well as either the absence or presence of protective or supportive factors that are at the disposal of the child. Therefore, the NMT approach will primarily focus on offering assistance to the children in such a way that is congruent to neuroscience (Vaughan, McCullough & Burnell, 2016).

It is evident that the brain of a child learns best when there is regular repetition. This means that some interventions that utilize rhythms like dance or music will improve their learning while at the same time support their development of the regulatory capacity. Thus, in this particular aspect of the framework, I take to assist the children to overcome trauma through first focusing on their brain. Precisely, this would be through the activities such as repetitive singing or dancing which are intrinsically relational and rewarding for it to be most effective.

Impacts of Personal Beliefs, Values, Assumptions, and Knowledge

It is apparent that the way I would work with the children as a social worker will be guided by my personal beliefs, values, assumptions, and knowledge. It is important to note that I come from China and I have come to Australia to study Social Work. Therefore, if I am working with children with trauma who are from Australia and any other background that is different from mine, there would be some differences that would be seen there.

I have developed my knowledge and assumptions regarding trauma all through the entire process of learning about it as well as before my learning about it. Therefore, this knowledge will enable me first to be culturally competent whereby my personal beliefs and values will not get in the way of my providing professional assistance to these children (Joseph et al., 2014). One of the ways that I would oversee this is through the utilization of appropriate language which is very critical for there to be a successful work and process of assisting these victims (Joseph et al., 2014). I acknowledge that unless there is proficiency in the language use, and specifically choosing the language that is preferred by the children, then the process will likely be jeopardized.

Secondly, in a bid of becoming culturally competent in my services, I will need to be aware of the biases of my beliefs, values, and culture. I would also need to be aware of my knowledge biases in the process so that the process would be efficient and beneficial to the children (Joseph et al., 2014). Therefore, it would be essential for me to complete health and personal beliefs training as well as the cultural competence training which is tailored to the particular cultures that I am working in so that the children can safely identify with me and I can also identify with them as well (Joseph et al., 2014).

My beliefs, values, assumptions, and knowledge will also guide the way I work with the children with trauma in that I will strive to harness resilience through taking various protective factors into consideration (Harms, Louise & Talbot, 2007). As I acknowledge that that adversity and distress are at the core of my work, my chosen personal framework has explored the various sources of enhancing resilience to these children which will be beneficial to them despite the trauma and other life adversities that they may have been exposed to. One way of strengthening this resilience is through the implementation of the narrative approach (Harms, Louise & Talbot, 2007). Precisely, this will be informed by my beliefs, values, and assumptions that may have had regarding the subject. Through the implementation of the narrative approach, I would primarily focus on listening to the trauma narratives of the children. This may be likely to present me with the opportunity to identify not only the effect that the traumatic experiences have had on their lives but also the various protective factors that can be beneficial to enhance their resilience (Harms, Louise & Talbot, 2007).

My knowledge regarding the subject will guide the choice of the protective factors of their individual lives like the coping processes and unique healing, personal skills and strengths, value and belief systems, sources of hope and meaning, as well as the supportive relationships. Therefore, my knowledge of these factors has guided my framework in that it has assisted me in the identification of these underpinning protective factors in the life of the children which is an essential element in the process of building resilience in the lives which will need to extend all through the duration of implementing this framework (Amos et al., 2011).

On the other hand, the assumptions that I have regarding working with children with trauma will enable me to bring into clear awareness the various dimensions of the life of the children, for example, their spiritual, cultural, social and emotional aspects of their lives. This will then enable me as a professional to go beyond the typically foregrounded trauma experiences which will thereby assist in enriching the lives of the children’s personal lives narratives (Amos et al., 2011).

My knowledge, assumptions, values, and beliefs will also guide my framework in that it will assist me in the reduction of the perceived power differentials. Often, the children who have undergone various kinds of trauma have been robbed of their control of various aspects of their individual lives (Gomez, Carol & Yassen, 2007). Therefore, the power dynamics is evidently a barrier and a sensitive aspect when it comes to the successful trauma interventions of the children. In the process of reducing the power differentials, it would be first critical to understand my beliefs, values, and knowledge regarding the subject and at the same time respect the views of the children and their families regarding them being subjected to treatment (Gomez, Carol & Yassen, 2007). This will then enable me to reduce the power differentials through the development of an effective partnership between the children as well as their families and collaborate as much as possible to seek their active involvement in the entire process.

Finally, my knowledge of the subject will enable me to address some of the post-resettlement challenges which are related to discrimination which often entails dealing with the micro-aggressions that the child may be undergoing with the aim of enhancing the children’s mental health (Bonanno, 2004). It is evident that harassment and teasing which is related to the child’s religious, cultural, and ethnic identities is an experience that is quite common amongst the group of children who are experiencing trauma (Bonanno, 2004). My assumptions of the life difficulties that they are going through will enable me to evaluate and validate the hurt and pain that the child is going through so that I could assist them in the restoration of their self-esteem, self-efficacy, as well as that of societal belonging.


Children are a group of people who are very vulnerable and mostly those who have been subjected to traumatic experiences. There is also a significant number of children who are having difficulties in coping with the after-trauma growth which may impact the way they lead life into their future. Following, my framework in helping these children who are undergoing trauma is an integrated framework which entails three approaches in it which will assist the children in dealing with the various aspects of trauma. These strategies include the NMT, the phased intervention, and the whole systems approach. The paper has also discussed the way my assumptions, knowledge, values, and beliefs will guide my framework. Some of the essential aspects that will be addressed include cultural competence, enhancement of resilience, and the reduction of the power differentials that are common features of the children with trauma.


Amos, Jackie, Furber, Gareth & Segal, Leonie. (2011). Understanding maltreating mothers: A synthesis of relational trauma, attachment disorganization, structural dissociation of the personality, and experiential avoidance. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 12(5): 495-509.

Bonanno, George, A. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: Have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events?. The American Psychologist, 59(1): 20-28.

Edwards, Valerie J, Holden, George W, Felitti, Vincent, J. & Anda, Robert, F. (2003). ‘Relationship between multiple forms of childhood maltreatment and adult mental health in community respondents: Results from the adverse childhood experiences study. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(8): 1453-1460.

Gomez, Carol. & Yassen, Janet. (2007). Revolutionizing the clinical frame: Individual and social advocacy practice on behalf of trauma survivors. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 14(1-2): 245-263.

Harms, Louise & Talbot, Michelle. (2007). The aftermath of road trauma: Survivors’ perceptions of trauma and growth. Health & Social Work, 32(2): 129-137.

Joseph, Stephen & Murphy, David. (2014). Trauma: A unifying concept for social work. British Journal of Social Work, 44(5): 1094-1109.

Laszlo, C., & Cooperrider, D. L. (2010). Creating sustainable value: A strength-based whole system approach. In Positive Design and Appreciative Construction: From Sustainable Development to Sustainable Value (pp. 17-33). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Savage, E., Farrell, D., McManus, V., & Grey, M. (2010). The science of intervention development for type 1 diabetes in childhood: systematic review. Journal of advanced nursing, 66(12): 2604-2619.

Vaughan, J., McCullough, E., & Burnell, A. (2016). Neuro-Physiological Psychotherapy (NPP): The development and application of an integrative, wrap-around service and treatment programme for maltreated children placed in adoptive and foster care placements. Clinical child psychology and psychiatry, 21(4): 568-581.