I Can't Unsee It is a short story and a game to help children process trauma in a non-confrontational play format. The story helps introduce typical responses to trauma and normalizes intrusive thoughts, fears, avoidance, and struggles that children often face after experiencing trauma. The game helps children tell their own stories, identify symptoms, and find ways to feel better.
The story is about a little girl who saw something horrible happen. As a result, she is struggling to sleep, is falling behind in school, and has lost interest in things she used to enjoy. She suffers from intrusive thoughts and forgetfulness. She learns about repression and dissociation and how processing the event can help her feel better. As she puts the puzzle pieces of her experience back together the symptoms are alleviated.
The game helps children process their own trauma. They will learn coping mechanisms, find support figures, and learn how to process their experience so that it does not continue to haunt them. The cards address many aspects of the trauma such as safety themes, addressing nightmares, CBT skills to rescript or challenge thoughts, as well as ways to communicate. Kids will identify their triggers, needs when triggered, and consider a plan of action for when they are upset.
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My experience has been that some kids are open and willing to discuss traumatic events while others do not want to talk about it at all. I will allow kids to pass questions that they do not feel comfortable speaking about. However, it is important for them to do the work somewhere. Some kids tend to be private. Some have success with reading the book and playing the game with a trusted loved one while others prefer doing the work on their own. As long as they are willing to work through it, healing begins.
Unfortunately, trauma work is often an integral part of counseling kids. This book has been used more often than I expected. The silver lining is that with the right information and hard work, they can heal. This has been a go-to resource in my counseling toolbox.