IPT Book Reviews

Title: Treatment Strategies for Abused Children: From Victim to Survivor
Authors: Cheryl L. Karp and Traci L. Butler
Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc., 1996

Sage Publications, Inc.
2455 Teller Rd.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
(805) 499-0721
$24.95 (Paperback kit includes both book and activity workbook)

Treatment given to children who have been physically or sexually abused is dominated by a psychoanalytic, feeling-expressive and insight-oriented model.  This 236-page book and the accompanying activity workbook presents a simple, concise, well-organized, and easily followed road map for doing this kind of therapy.  The authors are explicit in stating this therapeutic approach is intended only for children where there is no question that abuse has occurred and where there has been a reliable determination that abuse has happened.

According to the authors, abuse-focused psychotherapy for a child has the following aim: "The child's work is to gain the courage to go back to frightening thoughts and images of the trauma and explore them in a safer environment where there is a sense of control.  The child must then gain the skills necessary to cope with what may be seen as a frightening world in which to grow up as a healthier adult" (pp. xxii-xxiii).  This is to be accomplished by expressing feelings, and the chapters of both the book and the activity book tell what the feelings are and how to elicit them.

There is no information given about any outcomes or the effect of abuse-focused psychotherapy. There is no effort to relate any of the concepts and suggested techniques to empirical, quantified research. There are no data supplied about the efficacy of this therapy with children. Before making a choice to follow this model and vend abuse-focused psychotherapy to abused children, it would be advisable to review the research literature on child therapy.  Weisz and Weiss (1993) conclude that the evidence suggests psychoanalytic, feeling-expressive, and insight-oriented therapy is not helpful and sometimes may be harmful for children.

Reviewed by Ralph Underwager, Institute for Psychological Therapies, Northfield, Minnesota 55057.

Weisz, J.R., & Weiss, B. (1993), Effects of Psychotherapy With Children and Adolescents (Hardcover)(Paperback).  Newbury Park: Sage Publications, Inc.

Order this book: Hardcover

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