Helping Children Cope with Trauma

Federation-funded efforts at the JDC revived a therapeutic project to help children cope with the trauma of war.


Children are given a stuffed dog called a Hibuki (“Huggy”), which has extra-long arms that wrap around the child, giving them a hug. When a child is given a stuffed animal to actively care for, the child transfers his or her emotions onto the stuffed animal. By taking care of Hibuki, the child is essentially treating his or her own trauma, and addressing his or her own fears and worries.


“Hibuki is sad because missiles were fired on his doghouse,” one child said. “He is afraid of war,” and “he is afraid to die” were common concerns raised by the children.


Some 330 children with post-traumatic stress were treated using this method in communities neighboring Gaza, where the violence has been most intense. More than 30 professional counselors received training in an effort to expand the scope of the program to reach thousands of children in need. In addition, parents were given tutorials on how to help their children alleviate their fears through the use of the stuffed animal.


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