Child abuse is far more than broken bones and bruises. While a child who is abused may have visible signs of abuse, there are a variety of ways in which child abuse leaves a scar on a child that lasts much longer than the bruises. The earlier a child is able to seek treatment to recover from child abuse, the greater the chance they have at breaking the cycle of abuse and learning to heal. As a parent of a child who has been abused, you know that your child needs help to overcome the emotional scars of childhood physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. You may be afraid to seek care, afraid of what others may think, and how people will treat your child. At Ascent Children’s Health Services in Arkansas, we understand that you, too, are a survivor and you are ready to do right by your child. Our team of pediatric specialists will work hard to restore harmony in your life and begin to slow process of helping your child heal from abuse.
Why Seek Treatment for Child Abuse?
Every type of child abuse leaves lasting marks upon a child. Some of these marks may be visible, physical reminders of the abuse, however, the most damaging aspects of child abuse last long after the abuse ends. Without proper care and treatment, abused children may experience long-lasting effects throughout their life, impacting the child’s sense of self, the ability to have meaningful relationships, and ability to function in areas of daily life such as school or work. Children who have been abused often distrust others, and rightfully so – after a period of abuse, a child begins to see the world and people as dangerous and holes him or herself off from the rest of society. This can lead to devastating effects on a child’s ability to form attachments and develop meaningful relationships. A child who is abused may feel worthless or damaged, especially if the abuse was emotional, and may have challenges regulating emotions as they learned that there is no safe way for them to express themselves. These problems can spiral out of control if a child does not learn to heal from the abuse.
Therapy that involves a variety of child health specialists under one roof allows for the best chances for healing from child abuse. A multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, pediatric psychologists, psychiatrists, physical, occupational, and speech therapists will work together to create a plan of care for a child that spans the disciplines. This allows the child’s care team to work as one unit to help heal a child from child abuse.
Our Philosophy and Benefits
At Ascent’s treatment center and mental health clinic, our philosophy is based on the recognition that each family who comes to us for help is a unique unit and each child who needs our services is a whole person who needs a holistic approach to child abuse recovery. Our staff strives to enhance the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of each person we work with in order to promote maximum independence, healing, and hope. In this way, we can work to ensure that each child receives the most effective and appropriate level of care for his or her needs.
Treatment Approaches for Child Abuse at Ascent Children’s Health Service
After we receive a referral for services for your child, we will perform a variety of evaluations on your child to allow us to form a complete picture as to what your child’s needs are. We’ll take the findings of our evaluations and work with you and your child to create a plan of care. This plan of treatment will be designed to meet all of your child’s needs in order to help him or her heal from child abuse.
Individual therapy is used often in the treatment of childhood abuse. A therapist will work with your child to gain his or her trust and allow your children the space needed to process the emotions about the abuse. Your child’s therapist will also work with your child to build his or her self-esteem, learn coping skills, and emotional regulation. Healing from child abuse takes some time, but a therapist trained in working with abused children can make a world of difference in your child’s recovery.
Group therapy is very important for victims of child abuse as it allows children who have been abused to work together on various subjects. Many abused children feel different from others, alone in their environment, and the ability to see that other children face similar struggles can make a huge impact on a child. We offer a variety of groups that cover a range of topics that may include anger management, emotional regulation, coping skills, appropriate peer interactions, social skills, deep breathing, and relaxation.
Family therapy is extremely important for families in which child abuse occurred. Family sessions will be child-centered and meet no less than one time per month. These sessions are led by your child’s doctor and involve ensuring everyone is on board with the plan of care, working on appropriate parent-child interactions, and addressing any needs that may occur outside of our treatment center.
Medication is occasionally used during treatment of child abuse to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression to best allow your child to participate fully in his or her therapy. If it has been determined by you and your child’s treatment team that your child may benefit from a short course of medication, we will work to ensure that your child is responding appropriately to the medication and that the dosage is right for your child.
As a holistic treatment center, Ascent Children’s Health Services works hard to make sure we treat the whole child – mind, body, and spirit. We’re proud to offer a variety of experiential methods that can help your child heal. These may include:
- Sensory rooms
- Therapy gym
- Handwriting without tears
- Feeding clinics
Continuing Care and Levels of Care
As a multidimensional treatment center, Ascent’s treatment center and mental health clinic in Arkansas is proud to offer a variety of services to help your child succeed and heal from child abuse. Our Child Health Management Services (CHMS) offers both day program and outpatient treatment options for a variety of medical and developmental diagnoses. Our Rehabilitate Services for Persons with Mental Illness (RSPMI) is similarly offered on an outpatient and day program and is designed to help children who are struggling with mental illness learn to manage their disorders. Ascent offers a 24-hour crisis and emergency line for parents and children who may be facing an emergency situation.
Each year, we will conduct a series of evaluations to make certain that our treatment approaches are working and to determine whether or not your child still requires our services. In the event that your child has grown out of his or her need for services, we offer a formal discharge process that will ensure an appropriate aftercare plan is in place before services are discontinued.