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Concerns over children who witness traumatic incidents

Posted at 9:12 PM, Apr 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-19 08:38:03-04

Days after the shooting at the La Encantada mall many people are still reeling from what happened.

Some of those who witnessed the deadly shooting were children and now there are concerns of the impact it will have on them.

Police say, 60-year-old Frederick Bair walked into the Firebirds restaurant and shot and killed 65-year old Eliot Cobb. Before turning the gun on himself he shot his ex-wife, Mary Jo Blair. 

Among those who witnessed it, children. 

"When children witness violence it can have the same impact, if not more than actually experiencing some kind of physical, emotional or sexual violence," says Robin Memel Fox, a therapist with Sabino Recovery

Fox recommends parents seek help for their children as soon as possible even if they don't show symptoms because children often times internalize their feelings. 

Those symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks and feeling unsafe. Many times the memories of the event don't manifest until the child is older. 

Counselors use different tactics to have children express themselves. 

"Play therapy, art therapy, expressive therapy will help them process what happened because sometimes kids don't have the words to express what's going on," Fox said.

The children will sometimes re-enact the event by drawing the shooters and people running out the building. 

Fox says, child therapy is important for kids to learn how to cope in a healthy way and not seek negative coping methods. 

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