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Trauma and the Effect on Social Skills

Evangelhouse is focused on helping girls grades 6-12 on a variety of issues that affect mental health. Trauma, and the effect trauma has on social skills is one of the biggest issues we see.  Since young girls are trained to depend a lot of their identity and decisions on their peers’ acceptance, social support is thought to have a moderating role in the development of many mental health issues within the age group that we treat.

All adolescent and teen girls must take time and have positive experiences to develop healthy social skills.  Therefore, it stands to reason that learning social skills might be particularly difficult for girls who have suffered trauma. A child’s ability to comprehend social cues, develop effective emotional control, be able to see things from other people’s perspectives, and grow in empathy can all be seriously impacted by trauma.

According to research, trauma negatively affects a teen’s capacity for decision-making and impulse control. Trauma can also change a teen’s response to pressure and emotional events. As a result, traumatized youngsters may experience emotions—like anxiety when meeting new people—more intensely while also struggling to regulate their reactions and conduct (like running away or being rude). According to a well-known longitudinal research study on the effects of trauma on female development, traumatized girls are less likely to have the social skills necessary to sustain a support system as a direct result of their traumatic experiences.

Dorm Life as a Corrective Experience

After a major traumatic event (big “T” trauma) or as a result of smaller traumas like bullying or parental divorce (small “t” trauma) it is normal for growth to drastically slow down or even halt altogether.  The rebuilding of positive, healthy social connection begins when girls discover a place of safety and have a caregiver taking care of their basic needs, such as what happens at Evangelhouse.

Dorm life at Evangelhouse Christian Academy emphasizes community living with shared responsibilities such as laundry and meal preparation in order to manage the campus. Students learn practical life-management skills while contributing to their peer group.

Our dorm supervisors, like all Evangelhouse Christian Academy staff, have college degrees and ministry experience. These caring professionals provide 24-hour supervision and are always available for objective biblical guidance and counsel.

Girls who have suffered trauma are more likely to struggle with setting boundaries, feeling secure in relationships, and receiving real support from others, which feeds a cycle of toxic relationships. At Evangelhouse, we break this toxic cycle by providing a highly structured daily routine where our girls are surrounded by positive role models providing encouragement and support while fostering a positive campus culture.

Social Skill Development at Evangelhouse

Although it may sound simple, creating good connections is one of the best strategies to recover from relational trauma. Young girls require proof that their fundamental preconceptions that “others don’t like them” and “they don’t know how to make friends” may be disproved. Girls are surrounded by caring peers and staff who acknowledge their talents and affirm their vulnerabilities in a supportive therapeutic environment. In addition to giving them the resources to mend family ties during family therapy, this degree of assistance makes them feel more secure in their relationships.

Lack of stable connections in their life is one factor contributing to the attachment problems that plague many females who have been traumatized. They could start to develop a tight bond with a classmate, but they are easily hurt by perceived rejection and have a hard time understanding how bonds organically deepen and alter over time.

With supervision, students experience the social atmosphere, group therapeutic process, and spiritual tone of campus life. We nurture a positive peer culture that emphasizes social responsibility, accountability, and leadership. The staff leads weekly interactive small-group meetings to teach students character development within their current social interactions. Here students learn relevant ways to apply biblical teachings to their actions. As students progress, they learn to look beyond themselves to provide encouragement and support for others.

Students participate in a variety of positive peer culture development activities including:

  • Biblical character development
  • Discipleship small group meetings
  • Leadership training
  • Student council
  • Weekly zone group staff feedback

If you believe your daughter would benefit from the corrective experiences we provide at Evangelhouse, give us a call today at (800) 924-4012

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