WILMINGTON — In an effort to provide youth help to work worth through trauma, a free therapeutic program is available for middle- and high-school students.
A nonprofit organization based in Massachusetts, Trauma Institute & Child Trauma Institute (TICTI) has offices across the nation, including in Greensboro. Through a private donor, its second North Carolina base has opened in the greater Wilmington area.
“Trauma and loss can cause school under-performance as well as behavioral issues, substance abuse, anger, anxiety, and depression,” TICTI founder and psychologist Ricky Greenwald said in a press release.
Two-thirds of youth experience at least one traumatic event by the age of 16, according to the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative. This can adversely affect numerous areas of the brain, including attention, memory, and cognition, as well as one’s ability to organize, focus, process information, and problem-solve.
An individual’s treatment is intense through TICTI’s retreat model, which has patients in therapy eight hours a day multiple days consecutively, up to a week. The program estimates its benefits are as impactful as a conventional one-hour-a-week therapy over the course of a year.
TICTI works with all ages — youth and adults — across diverse populations. It utilizes psychotherapy treatments such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Therapists ask patients to replay an incident or memory while following a therapist’s moving finger to reformulate negative emotions associated with it.
The institute also employs newer treatment models, such as progressive counting. The therapy asks a client to recollect distressful experiences as if it’s a movie — beginning to end — as the therapist counts aloud for the patient to move through the trauma and reconsolidate the memory in the process.
Allowing youth an opportunity to resolve traumas early in life gives clarity and opens up more opportunities, TICTI noted, rather than being bogged down by anguish for years into adulthood.
Abuse and neglect are the first areas many associate with traumatic experiences. However, instances are vast, from dealing with an incarcerated family member to facing food insecurity or homelessness, experiencing community violence and poor housing quality, to racism, natural disasters, PTSD, divorce, death, and more.
“We help troubled students put their trauma behind them and move on with their lives,” Greenwald said in the release.
Senior therapist Kym Lasser-Chere is leading Wilmington’s program.
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