Resource Discovery: Therapeutic Book for Child Trauma

By Kacy Mixon, M.S., LMFT

A Terrible Thing Happened: A story for children who have witnessed violence or trauma

A Terrible Thing Happened children's book
Holmes, M., Mudlaff, S. & Pillo, C. (2000). A terrible thing happened. Washington, DC: Magination Press.

We’ve discussed the prevalence and effects of children’s exposure to violence as well as effective treatment options. This week’s featured resource is one that professionals working with military families can use with younger children struggling with this issue. A Terrible Thing Happened: A Story for Children Who Have Witnessed Violence or Trauma tells the experience of Sherman T. Smith, an adorable raccoon struggling with a lot of confusing symptoms related witnessing something terrible.

“Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. Then he met Ms. Maple, who helped him talk about the terrible thing that he had tried to forget. Now Sherman is feeling much better.”

Margaret M. Holmes has authored this and many other self-help books for children. The “terrible thing that happened” is never described or illustrated making it possible for children to not only project their own experience onto the story but also learn about healthy coping strategies. This book can be used with children who have witnessed abuse, school/community violence, family violence, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters. Given that military families experience a multitude of stressors and sometimes traumatic events, professionals working with military families can benefit by having this book in their resource tool box.

This post was written by Kacy Mixon, M.S., LMFT, Social Media Specialist.  She is a member of the OneOp Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about OneOp FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.

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