Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Safety Remembrance Kit for Children

      I have been working on what I call a Safety Remembrance Kit for my youngest alters, the ones who have lived through the most violent and traumatic experiences.  It is difficult for anyone to do memory work after trauma, but I needed to put it in a context for young children.  Trauma is different in some ways for very young (especially pre-verbal) children; they have no understanding of what is going on, they have no language to express what is happening to them or how they feel, they are so vulnerable as to be in actual mortal danger by most trauma and abuse, and they have no means to defend themselves or escape.   Making sure children (or young alters) feel safe enough to remember abuse is the first step in trauma recovery.  My safety kit uses simple figurative objects to represent forms of safety a traumatized child needed in the real life past but did not have.  Now when they go 'back in time' through memory to revisit that scenario, they will have all the tools they need to remember and confront the trauma in a safe controlled way.

     The container for our Safety Remembrance Kit is just a cardboard box decorated with wallpaper samples.  Some of the ideas for figurative items to put in it I have so far are these;

A flashlight
To see and be seen.

A stop sign
Control.  The power to say no.  The decision of how far to go in memory work and when to stop.

A Teddy Bear

For comfort, company, and to guard.

A Notebook and Crayons

For expression.  Communication.

A Key
 Choice.  The power to open or close, lock or unlock.

     These are the idea I've had so far.  If anyone has any more ideas they'd like to add please share.

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