Grief is the process that occurs before people come to acceptance. It can be a painful experience involving many different feelings. Losses includes health issues, loss of a career, loss of relationships, an unborn child, and/orability or desire to have children. Experiencing loss and grieving may include physical, emotional, social, and spiritual responses. Grieving is essential for coming to terms with and processing the trauma and resultant losses. Trauma and its accompanying sense of loss may result in a terrible sense of disappointment and failure. Working with mental health professionals and other survivors can be extremely helpful in working through the grieving process. The grieving process involves acknowledgment and acceptance of loss. Psychotherapy is a process of “re-parenting” the inner child who may have had less than ideal caretaking. The neural connections in the brain can heal and change with new experiences.
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- Go to chapter: When the Unthinkable Happens: A Mindfulness Approach to Perinatal and Pediatric Death
This chapter explores traumatic grief and loss and discusses various treatments for it. It focuses on mindfulness-based interventions for specific use in traumatic grief with bereaved parents. Traumatic grief appears relatively responsive to the psychosocial approach, particularly when it includes exposure elements, such as retelling the story of the loss, reutilization, and building tolerance to the emotions associated with loss. More recently, Thieleman, Cacciatore, and Hill have presented evidence for a mindfulness-based, psychosocial approach for specific use in traumatic grief with bereaved parents. Western culture’s interest in mindfulness has grown exponentially, and practices have been integrated into a variety of general, psychotherapeutic treatment approaches including acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), mindful- ness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Of all mindfulness practices, one of the most cost-effective strategies to help providers working with bereaved parents is meditation.
- Go to chapter: Integrating Theories of Developmental Psychology Into the Enactment of Child Psychotherapy
Child psychotherapy requires case conceptualization through the lens of developmental psychology in a multimodal approach to assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and clinical interventions. This chapter outlines a blueprint for therapists to provide treatment for children by integrating these fundamental principles while collaborating with the other people in the child’s life. The chapter guides the therapist through case conceptualization that integrates the most efficacious treatment interventions into the eight-phase template of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Adaptive information processing (AIP) theory drives treatment with EMDR throughout the eight phases of that protocol and provides a template for case conceptualization and treatment planning. The use of the EMDR approach to psychotherapy is well documented and approved as evidence-based practice in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC).
- Go to chapter: A Developmentally Grounded and Integrative Clinical Approach for Treating Complex Trauma and Dissociative Disorders in Children
A Developmentally Grounded and Integrative Clinical Approach for Treating Complex Trauma and Dissociative Disorders in Children
Children are exposed to distress, violence, and trauma even before they are born. In-utero and early childhood exposure can contribute to severe medical and psychological consequences. Children who have been exposed to such traumatic events often arrive at the psychotherapist’s office with emotional and behavioral symptoms suggestive of reactive attachment disorder (RAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and dissociation. This chapter reviews relevant theories of dissociation integrated with theories of development to provide a summary of how attachment impacts dissociation. With a developmentally grounded theory of dissociation, the chapter describes clinical interventions for treating the dissociative sequelae of attachment trauma in children. This theoretical framework offers a developmentally grounded and integrative framework for working with children with complex trauma and dissociation. Symptoms of dissociation are common with PTSD, but an extreme response to trauma can be dissociation and dissociative disorders.
- Go to chapter: Use of Meditative Dialogue to Cultivate Compassion and Empathy With Survivors of Complex Childhood Trauma
Use of Meditative Dialogue to Cultivate Compassion and Empathy With Survivors of Complex Childhood Trauma
This chapter offers a review of selective literature on complex childhood trauma. It explains a case study demonstrating the use of meditative dialogue, a collaborative practice through which client and therapist are able to work together to develop empathy and compassion toward self and others during psychotherapy sessions. Thompson and Waltz described an inverse relationship between exposure to trauma and subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder symptom severity, and self-compassion. Recent neuroscience research has begun examining the effects of meditation practices on specific areas of the brain through neuroimaging studies. Clinical trials on the use of meditative dialogue in psychotherapy with survivors of complex childhood trauma, looking at the brains of the clients, and using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure changes, would help to demonstrate its efficacy and move it into the realm of evidence-based practices.
- Go to chapter: The Role of Neurobiology in Social Work Practice With Youth Transitioning From Foster Care
This chapter presents advances in the understanding of adolescent brain development that can inform and improve social work practice with youth leaving foster care. Foster care populations have a high rate of mental health disorders, and the association of types of child maltreatment with elevated risk for such disorders is well known; discussion of specific mental health problems and their treatment can be found elsewhere. Conventional mental health approaches have often targeted the innervated cortical or limbic neural systems, rather than the innervating source of the dysregulation. Psychotherapy, whether psychodynamic or cognitive, acts on and has measurable effects on the brain, its functions, and metabolism in specific brain areas. The ethical response is a sharing of the dilemma, and of information about the neurobiology of the client’s struggle, to enable the client to make as informed a decision as possible. In addition, neuroimaging techniques themselves lead to other ethical dilemmas.
This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on key concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book attempts to contribute to improving children’s lives by providing a comprehensive and effective treatment protocol. To enhance treatment efficacy and improve the trajectory for children’s lives, case conceptualization in child psychotherapy must integrate developmental theory, neuroscience, and best practice models into clinical practice. The book reviews some of the latest research on attachment and neuroscience that impacts case conceptualization in child psychotherapy. In 1989, Shapiro proposed a new treatment approach she entitled eye movement desensitization (EMD) and, later, eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) to treat trauma. After reviewing the major theories of attachment and Schore’s current rendition that he labels self-regulation theory, the book offers a foundation for therapists to use develop-mentally grounded theory through the lens of adaptive information processing (AIP) to treat attachment issues in clients of all ages.
In the therapeutic community (TC), the therapeutic and educational component that focuses specifically on the individual consists of the various forms of group process. The groups that are TC-oriented, such as encounters, probes, and marathons, retain distinctive self-help elements of the TC approach. This chapter provides an overview of general elements and forms of group process in the TC. Conventional psychotherapy and group therapy have not been particularly effective with substance abusers entering TCs for various reasons. Group tools are certain strategies of verbal and nonverbal interchange that are employed by participants to facilitate individual change in group process. There are two main classes of group process strategies: provocative tools and evocative tools. Provocative tools, hostility or anger, engrossment, and ridicule or humor, are most pointedly used to penetrate denial and break down deviant coping strategies such as lying.
Child psychotherapy is different than any other type of adult-child relationship. A trained mental health professional is using clinical skills to help a child find the answers to the problems he or she has encountered. This chapter outlines the most common symptoms in child psychotherapy. Anxiety is one of the most common symptoms of childhood, but the etiology and manifestation of anxiety varies. Anxiety is a symptom of many other disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), separation anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia and other specific phobias, selective mutism, mood disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Gifted children tend to have higher levels of anxiety because they can think about things they are not yet emotionally prepared to manage. The chapter discusses clinical interventions for common issues of childhood, along with resources for children, directions for parents, and references for parents, caregivers, educators, and therapists alike.
- Go to chapter: Integrating Theories of Developmental Psychology to Form a Comprehensive Approach to Treatment
This chapter explores theories of human development, also referred to as developmental psychology, as a knowledge base for professionals to integrate theory into case conceptualization in child psychotherapy. It provides a brief overview of the significant contributions of developmental psychology to the field of child psychotherapy that impact case conceptualization in the clinical treatment of children. Many theorists have shaped the study of human development, including Buford Jeanette Johnson, Anna Freud, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Urie Bronfenbrenner, Erik Erikson, Jerome Kagan, John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner, Albert Bandura, Lawrence Kohlberg, Jerome Brunner, Robert J. Havighurst, and Emmy Werner. Collectively, their theories propose explanations of all aspects of human development, including psychosexual, cognitive, social, psychosocial, behavioral, and neurological development, along with memory, information processing theories, and resilience. The chapter includes educational theory in order to understand how children are challenged to learn not only internally, but also externally, as well.