An interview with psychologist and researcher, Dr. Nancy Kassam-Adams about children’s medical experiences as a source of PTSD. Nancy, gave helpful suggestions for how parents can identify trauma in their kids after painful medical procedures or hospitalizations. She told a story of a child injured in a hit and run car accident, where the parents greatest difficulty had to be coming to terms with an adult who could leave her child, and the child’s biggest fear had to do with waking up alone at night in the hospital. We especially talked about the ways that hospitals are moving to make pediatric care more “trauma informed” (sensitive to the possibility of trauma), working not to separate children from their parents, and measuring the D, E, F’s of care: remember to assess and treat Distress, provide Emotional Support and, to include the Family. Nancy described an innovative program to treat adolescent cancer survivors and their families. Lastly, she offered two resources: www.aftertheinjury.org for parents, and www.healthcaretoolbox.org for professionals.
An interview with author Susan Conley about her experience of coping with breast cancer in China, while parenting two young boys. Susan describes how writing helped her work through her deep fear and sadness about her boys possibly not having a mother. She also talks about “pre-writing” and how she had struggled with resentment of those without cancer, and how that dissipated through the act of writing itself. Susan describes her decision to write as honestly as possible, exposing less than ideal parenting, or spousal moments as part of her story. We end the interview with a discussion of the Telling Room, which Susan co-founded. She describes the ways that supporting children to write and tell their story can give them a powerful new sense of identity and of being heard and valued. Susan’s book is, The Foremost Good Fortune.