Glenn S. Hirsch, M.D., Medical Director
Child & Family Associates
The Trauma and Bereavement Service is dedicated to helping people adjust following stressful life events including trauma and the loss of a loved one. Our services are designed for children and their families, adolescents, and adults with a history of trauma or bereavement. Download our brochure from the right of this page.
Traumatic events are situations in which a person is exposed to an actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a violation of physical integrity, leading to intense fear and helplessness. These situations may be short-lived, such as serious accidents (e.g., car accidents), physical or sexual assault (e.g., being mugged or raped), or terrorist attacks. Other times, these situations are more chronic, such as ongoing physical or sexual abuse.
The death of a loved one may also be considered one of life's more difficult experiences. This is particularly true for children, who may have difficulty understanding the loss and their subsequent feelings. It is estimated that one in every seven children will experience the death of a loved one by the age of 10, and that one in every 20 children will experience the death of a parent before they turn 18.
A variety of factors influence how children and adults respond following stressful life events. While some people quickly return to their daily lives, others may experience behavioral or emotional difficulties. When this occurs, it is important to get help.
Warning signs following trauma:
- Avoiding people or places that are associated with the trauma
- Withdrawal from friends and social interactions
- Inability to feel or express strong emotions
- Nightmares or other sleep disturbances
- Distress related to reminders of the event
- Excessive nervousness or irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
Warning signs following a loss:
- Prolonged sadness or depression
- Excessive longing for the person who died
- Worry about the health and safety of loved ones
- Feeling isolated or different from others
- Self-blame or guilt
- Irritability, aggression, or acting out
- Decreased interest in pleasurable activities
- Avoiding thinking about or talking about the death
Evaluation and Treatment
An evaluation involves a review of the individual's history and current functioning in order to determine the best course of treatment and to provide appropriate recommendations. Relevant information may be gathered from family members, health professionals, and school personnel. Once the evaluation is complete, a feedback session is held to discuss a plan to help the individual or family.
Based on the evaluation, it is sometimes determined that therapy would be beneficial. Therapy is usually focused on helping the individual or family cope with the trauma or loss and function well in daily life. To schedule an evaluation, please contact our intake coordinator at (212) 263-8916.
The death of a loved one or the occurrence of a traumatic event often affects the lives of many people. Families, neighborhoods, schools, or other communities of people may seek guidance about how to respond. For example, when a child dies, the school might not know if a memorial should be held or what such a memorial would look like. Our faculty is available to provide consultation to schools and other organizations about how to grieve, cope, and ultimately move forward in the face of adversity.
Trauma and death are topics that are often difficult to talk about and comprehend, for adults and children alike. Nevertheless, most people are affected by these issues at some point in their lives. Our faculty is available to provide workshops and talks on trauma, bereavement, resilience, and other related topics. Outreach services may be targeted toward schools, parents, community organizations, or health professionals. Please email email@example.com for more information or to schedule a speaker.