Trauma therapy: How SOS helps children
With seven decades of experience informing our work, SOS Children’s Villages focuses on helping children at risk. Many children in our care have suffered past trauma, including the loss of parental care. Regardless of prior traumatic experiences, we believe that every child has the potential for growth, development, healing and extraordinary resilience.
The basis of our time-tested approach is the belief that stable care in a safe, loving home is the foundation of a healthy upbringing. Children who grow up in a supportive family and community have a greater chance to realize their full potential, lead an independent adult life and build resilience to overcome the traumatic experiences of their childhood and meet life’s challenges.
We know that the first years in a child’s life are crucial for their future mental health. Therefore, we pay particular attention to early childhood development. We work to ensure that all young children in our programs receive appropriate care, stimulation and support to overcome traumas from their past and build resilience. Through the generosity of our supporters, SOS Children’s Villages offers mental health programs and services to children, families and communities and trains SOS mothers and core care workers to provide critical help to children who have been exposed to traumatic experiences. This work helps children and families rebuild their lives.
To equip children with the emotional tools necessary to overcome traumatic events, we focus on building strong relationships. SOS caregivers are trained in ways to bond constructively with children, which helps the healing process take place:
“Children develop within an environment of relationships that begins in the family but also involves other adults who play important roles in their lives. This can include extended family members, providers of early care and education, nurses, social workers, coaches and neighbors. These relationships affect virtually all aspects of development—intellectual, social, emotional, physical and behavioral—and their quality and stability in the early years lay the foundation that supports a wide range of later outcomes.”
- Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts: A Science-Based Approach to Building a More Promising Future for Young Children and Families (2016)
With the love and encouragement of a parent or caregiver from a young age, children are better able to develop basic life skills such as communication, cooperation, problem-solving, setting of personal goals, self-confidence and determination: critical qualities needed to help resolve the lingering effects of trauma. Ultimately, children with stable care are more likely to have healthy relationships, find steady jobs and transform their communities for the better.