Teen Trauma Assessment in Dallas

One of the first steps that should be taken before developing a treatment plan for adolescents is examining whether or not they have experienced trauma either recently or during early childhood. Many times, teens will be diagnosed with mental health conditions such as oppositional defiant disorder or bipolar without there being a proper analysis of any underlying circumstances. More times than not, a teen’s oppositional behavior may be due to complex trauma they experienced in the past, and it’s important to uncover their personal experiences before making any diagnoses. At Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers, we perform a teen trauma assessment in order to learn about an adolescent’s upbringing and determine whether a specific traumatic event contributes to their need for treatment.

What Is a Teen Trauma Assessment?

A teen trauma assessment evaluates an individual in order to determine whether they may have experienced some sort of trauma during their development. Trauma comes in many forms, including parental neglect, child abuse, parental substance abuse, foster care and more. These events have significant effects on a teen’s personality and can lead to certain behaviors that might get misdiagnosed for other disorders. A teen trauma assessment can help medical experts and psychologists determine the best ways to approach treatment.

Why Is a Teen Trauma Assessment Important?

It’s not uncommon for teens who have experienced a traumatic event to revert into problematic behaviors. They may exhibit symptoms of aggression, mood swings, inattention, poor performance in school, problems maintaining relationships and so on. The combination of these symptoms often leads to a misdiagnosis, and reactions to these behaviors from those who are unaware of the teen’s trauma may project onto the teen that they are a bad person and can’t be helped, which wears on their self-image and causes destructive behavior to increase. However, when an appropriate assessment is administered, teens can begin to recognize that there is a reason for their behavior and that it’s not their fault. This understanding is important for their reception of treatment and a successful recovery.

A comprehensive trauma assessment can use multiple mechanisms to bring out a variety of reactions in teens. Seeing and examining each reaction will help clinicians better understand the traumatic event and its relationships to certain emotional and behavioral problems.

How Is the Teen Trauma Assessment Conducted at Visions?

Visions works specifically with adolescents and understands how they communicate and develop. It is therefore vital for us to perform a trauma assessment due to the fact that we are experts in the field of adolescent psychology. Not only do we employ psychologists who are trained and certified to perform a number of evaluations, but we staff a multi-disciplinary team that uses their diverse expertise to identify the various issues a teen may be facing.

The first step to administering a trauma assessment is uncovering the specific trauma that a teen experienced. We gather the time frame of the trauma and determine whether it was ongoing. Once we identify the events that occurred, we can make a sound judgement on how the experience impacted the teen’s development. We can identify the current behaviors that a teen is expressing and apply them to other impairments that are surfacing as a result of the trauma. The goal is to link the traumatic events to the current behaviors being expressed and create an appropriate diagnosis. We also assess adolescents for co-occurring disorders that may surface alongside more prevalent mental health conditions.

At Visions, we perform trauma assessments by evaluating a number of different materials. In order to produce an accurate diagnosis, it’s important to gather any necessary information that might benefit the creation of a treatment plan. Our staff will typically perform clinical interviews and observe various behaviors when the teen is in a natural environment. We may also rely on reports from family members, teachers and the teenagers themselves to gain a better understanding of their personality. The information that we collect is used by each member of our team to interact with and promote the teen’s treatment plan, which is created with the most individualized attention and care. Without a personalized assessment, any therapy or medical intervention will be ineffective.

The results from a trauma assessment can also serve as a benchmark for improvement. Once the teen has participated in treatment for some time, our professionals are able to compare their current state to their initial behavior at the start of treatment. Overall, a teen trauma assessment serves to fully understand an adolescent’s emotional construct before applying a diagnosis. By thoroughly investigating potential reasons for problematic or destructive behavior, our staff is able to provide appropriate amounts of support while the teen finds purpose within themselves and in their recovery. If you would like more information about teen trauma assessments or any of our other evaluations services in Dallas, please contact Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers.