Social Workers Trained to Deal with Children’s Trauma Issues
Youths between the ages of fourteen and twenty-nine over the years have been experiencing trauma due to a number of reasons, including violence on the streets, at home or school. Stakeholders who come in contact with the affected population also experience the psychological effect of trauma. The Department of Youth Services has engaged Belizean American Psychotherapist Doctor Alex Depaz, who is working with both victim and community outreach officers on how to deal with youths affected by trauma and the effective methods of counseling high risk victims.
Dr. Alex Depaz, Psychotherapist
“What we are working with is vicarious trauma which is when a social worker or therapist works with youths or individuals who have suffered sexual abuse, violence, incest, victims of crime, gang relation or any of those that is a traumatic experience. What happen is that the social worker carries that, it is called transference or counter-transference based on their own internal experiences. They may have come from trauma themselves if they have not worked on their internal issues, then when they perform work on these individuals they cannot be competent or effective in the work that they do.”
“Ok. So, good, the focus is not really the youth; it is the social workers and how they themselves deal with their own trauma and knowing how to work with the young children?”
Dr. Alex Depaz
“Absolutely. I have done some training with the youths and the need for counseling here is overwhelming. That is what I noticed. I did a short training here yesterday and I had youths lining up wanting to see me one on one. But I wanted to work with the counselors, so that that way my training can help them to trickle down so that they can do training with their workers and so on.”