Assessing and Treating Physically Abused Children and Their Families: A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach (Interpersonal Violence: The Practice Series)

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9780761921493: Assessing and Treating Physically Abused Children and Their Families: A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach (Interpersonal Violence: The Practice Series)

A professional book aimed at practitioners and practitioners in training, this volume is the first attempt to provide a comprehensive, practical approach to the assessment and treatment of physically abused children. While there are other books that cover certain aspects of assessment and treatment, this book is comprehensive in that it covers child-specific, parent-specific, and family-specific interventions. The volume will present an overview of child physical abuse (including statistics and consequences), it will discuss outcome studies and treatment implications, and it will thoroughly discuss assessment and treatment. It will help practitioners:

  • Understand children′s abuse experiences, views, exposures to violence, and it will help expose thinking errors or negative attributions. It will also help the practitioner help the children with anxiety management, anger management, social skills, and safety plans.
  • Help parents with child management and development, expectations and cognitive distortions, behavior management, and discipline.
  • Facilitate family communication and problem solving. 

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About the Author:

Cynthia Cupit Swenson, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina. Her work primarily consists of research on community-based treatment for youth violence, child physical abuse, family violence, and community violence. Currently, via a grant funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, she is involved in examining treatment for adolescents and their families when physical abuse occurs.

Dr. Swenson is a frequently invited speaker around the United States and has written numerous publications in the field. At the national level, Dr. Swenson is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) where she serves on the Executive Council. Dr. Swenson also participates on a number of state Boards related to child maltreatment and youth drug court. In addition, she is involved with community service oriented Boards related to community development and youth West African Dance and Drumming. She received her M.S. in psychology from Northeast Louisiana University and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The Florida State University. 

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FOREWORD

In recent years, expanding research in the field of child maltreatment has taken us toward a broader understanding of the problems that abused children may encounter and the potential solutions for those problems. Given that the individual problems and family circumstances associated with child physical maltreatment are so varied and complex, the solutions also must be comprehensive.

In this book, Drs. Kolko and Swenson integrate a large body of research literature with real-world information from clinical practice. To their credit, the authors have carefully described and illustrated an array of procedures that nicely lend themselves to efficient application. The pleasing result is a careful description and thoughtful illustration of ways that practitioners can apply a comprehensive, empirically based model for intervening in cases involving child physical abuse.

Historically, the field of child maltreatment has emphasized individually focused interventions for abusive or at-risk parents or, in some cases, abused or maltreated children. These interventions often vary considerably in the extent to which they are based on empirical evidence of their efficacy. Surprisingly, the field has held to individually focused interventions for the most part, even though the occurrence of physical abuse relates to certain factors within the child, parent, family, and community domains. Kolko and Swenson present one of the few integrated models that appreciate the empirically based, individually focused interventions, while at the same time taking us a step further through the incorporation of family-systems interventions.

Throughout the volume, Kolko and Swenson cite evidence for the efficacy of various techniques designed to address an array of child, adult, and family concerns. Readers are provided with extensive knowledge of general physical abuse information and an understanding of why and how the techniques may be useful. These empirically validated techniques are illustrated through concrete examples, transcripts, and case description to maximize clinical intervention and equip the reader to put research into practice. Beyond description of the precise application of these techniques is the strong implication that professional systems (i.e., the court and child protection) and the family’s greater ecology are important partners in the treatment process.

This book is especially important given the recent focus by health care programs on both clinician accountability and the measurement of client outcomes. Because child physical abuse is not a diagnosis but can lead to a variety of mental health problems, an efficient assessment that articulates both specific strengths and weaknesses is essential to the effective resolution of problem behaviors and reduction further risk. The model illustrated in this book provides a guide for assessing factors that contribute to abuse risk, as well as various clinical disorders resulting from experiences of child physical abuse. The development of the comprehensive treatment plan in accord with this model is nicely demonstrated.

This practice manual is a welcome addition to this expanding field, and will be a well-used and often-cited resource for beginning and experienced therapists.

David A. Wolfe, PhD The University of Western Ontario

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