Grief and Trauma Specialty Team

Our Grief and Trauma Specialty Team provides specialized treatment for children and youth.

What to Expect When Your Child is Affected by Trauma

What is Trauma?

Trauma is defined as an emotional response to any real or perceived life-threatening situation. Children often have varied emotional and physical reactions after experiencing a trauma that is emotionally painful, distressful or shocking. If unresolved, there are often lasting mental and physical effects. The following is a list of the types of trauma a child can experience:

  • Disasters/Events: Disaster or events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorism, war, victim of crime, serious car accidents, etc.
  • Abuse: This includes sexual, physical and emotional or verbal abuses and/or witnessing domestic violence.
  • Neglect: Neglect is the failure of caregivers to fulfill their responsibilities to provide needed care.
  • Death-related trauma: A sudden death occurs without any forewarning; it is unexpected. A traumatic death, in addition to being sudden, can also be violent or destructive and may involve many deaths. Trauma may also occur when the child has witnessed a long-term illness.

Where Does Complicated Grief Arise?

  • A child may experience complicated grief if death loss was sudden, traumatic and violent such as with homicide, suicide and accidents.
  • Complicated grief may develop if the child has already had previous multiple losses and/or if the deceased individual was abusive/neglectful to the child.
  • A child may also experience complicated grief if there is inadequate or inappropriate support through their social network.

Individualized Therapeutic Services

Gateway’s services include community and homebased therapeutic sessions which use play therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy and parent education resources. Our highly trained team of psychiatrists, clinicians and case managers work with the family and all key stakeholders to develop an individualized treatment plan based on the family’s needs. Additionally, Gateway works collaboratively with FRIENDS WAY, Rhode Island's only bereavement center for children to offer peer-to-peer support for bereaved children and their families. 

Many of our teams are co-located in several schools throughout Rhode Island allowing for seamless and expedient access, as well as efficient care coordination.