Night Terrors by ProQuest


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									                           Dr Karen Explains...
                                                                                 By Karen Ruskin, PsyD

                            Night Terrors
                          Children       there is a locked box with painful       explorative journey of helping the
                          that ex-       thoughts in it and wants to unlock       child to uncover what he may be
                          perience       it because it is the secrets that we     locking away, address the problem,
                          night ter-     keep from ourselves that plague us       confront the problem, and come
rors, also called “sleep terror disor-   in our awake state/during the day        up with solutions and/or coping
der,” experience intense fear as well    in ways that we do not realize.          methods. By involving the parents
as rapid breathing and sweating,                                                  with this process it helps educate
and are often unresponsive to the        Because the conscious mind (the          them about what the child is feel-
efforts of others to comfort them        day mind) keeps putting the feel-        ing and allows the child to feel he
during the episode. Typically the        ings in the box that he has not          can then turn to his parents when
child does not remember the dream        figured out how to cope with, has        he is experiencing emotional pain.
and there is amnesia for the entire      not discussed his feelings about or      As a family therapist, I am all for
episode. In essence, the child does      has not come up with a solution for      educating one’s child and parents
not know he has night terrors.           the problem(s), it is the subcon-        about the mind. The more a child
                                         scious mind that is trying to figure     understands, the more he is able to
Parents of children that have night      out a creative way to open up the        cope effectively since he is armed
terrors are often told not to tell       box and address the issues. One          with knowledge. It is in the aware-
their child that he is having night      creative solution results in night       ness a child has by day that a child
terrors so as to not scare their child   terrors. I explain to the family that    can rest by night.
or to negatively effect their child’s    the best way to resolve the night
                                                                                  You can call your insurance directly
concentration on typical day-to-day      terrors and experience a healthy
                                                                                  and request a list of providers in
thoughts and activities. I disagree      life is to confront what is bothering
                                                                                  the network that are either a child
with this advice and think it is         the child by “unlocking the box.”
                                                                                  psychologist, a marriage and family
imperative that you talk with your
                                                                                  therapist, or a social worker that
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