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Promote safety for the young person
Feeling extremely unsafe is really common for young people who have experienced trauma. They often view the world and people in it as threatening or dangerous. While this is often real and helpful for them when they are experiencing the trauma, once they are out of that situation it can be a problem.
Helping these young people feel safe, physically and emotionally, is something you can do that will help. Things to think about are:
Take note of the physical environment when you are with a young person. Sometimes aspects of the space can be reminders of traumatic experiences for young people. Remember to consider other young people’s needs in the environment also.
Be clear about what you can do i.e. your role, responsibility and boundaries to these. The clearer you are about what young people can expect from you and what your limits are, the easier it will be for them to navigate their relationship with you. If you are consistent and predictable then the young person is more likely to feel safe as they know what to expect from you. Also the relationship the young person has with you can be a really good way to model positive and appropriate supports for them which will only be beneficial.
Inherent in being clear about your role is being clear about confidentiality and the limits of it. Be open with a young person about this and, where possible, let them know exactly what information gets passed on and to who. Don’t talk about other young people where others can hear – this indicates that you will do the same thing about them and make them question your trustworthiness.
Have a think about helping a young person understand their own safety and ways they know when they feel unsafe. Exploring ways they may manage these situations will help when they are alone.