Rhode Island Resource Directory

A Guide to Services Associated with RI 2-1-1

Counseling for Children Affected by Domestic Violence

Code: RP-1400.8000-020.21

Programs that identify, assess and provide individual, group or family counseling or other therapeutic services for children who have been exposed to domestic violence. The therapy helps children cope with their emotional reaction to the violence, reduce problematic symptoms/behaviors (e.g., nightmares, insomnia, aggressiveness, outbursts of anger, withdrawal), understand, to the extent they can, why their parents are fighting and be reassured that it is not their fault. Children who are not ready to discuss what they have witnessed may be asked to use drawing of their family or their home, play with dolls or engage in other activities as a way of expressing what they are unable to say. Therapists also work to help the family create a safe and stable environment that will support the child’s ability to heal. Specific therapeutic approaches will vary depending on the child's age, their level of traumatization and other factors. Treatment may involve consultation with the child's school or contacts with pediatricians, attorneys or other providers involved with the family.

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