Stories too Scary to be Told in the Dark

Campfire surrounded by campersThere is something captivating about a well spun yarn, told by a campfire, that has just the right balance of realism and fantasy, that will make you jump when you least expect it.  If the story is too fantastical, you won’t believe it could happen to you.  A story that is too ordinary fails to capture the listener’s attention. 

But there are some stories that are too scary to be told in the dark.  I’m not talking about the latest horror story or the new scary movies that are released every other week.  The stories I am talking about are referred to as “Trauma Narratives.”  Each one of the kids we serve comes with one.  Most are not ready to share theirs because it is too personal, too fresh, too scary. And that is ok.  Because our number one priority is for them to feel SAFE and get them the help that they need.  A crucial piece of the help that they will need is therapy.  For those who have been traumatized, one of the most effective types of therapy is Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or TF-CBT.

Our therapists in the C.R.E.A.T.E. Hope program provide TF-CBT to clients in our residential services, foster homes, and individuals from the community who have been victims of crime.  Chanté Clark, the director of the C.R.E.A.T.E. Hope Program, shared with me some valuable resources to help explain the purpose of the “Trauma Narrative” in TF-CBT.  According to NC Child Treatment Programs, processing the “Trauma Narrative” helps to un-pair thoughts and reminders of the trauma from the overwhelming negative emotions that often accompany traumatic reenactment.  Additionally, this can help decrease hyperarousal when experiencing reminders of trauma.

As a Trauma-Informed organization, Boys and Girls Homes provides safe, healing homes, programs, and services that help the children that we serve rewrite their story into one that is not too scary to tell. 

Rev. John Cobb is the Continuous Quality Improvement Risk Manager and Sanctuary Coordinator for Boys and Girls Homes of NC.

Learn more about C.R.E.A.T.E. Hope

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