Childhood Maltreatment

By: Christine Wekerle, PhD;
Alex L. Miller, Psy D;
David A. Wolfe, PhD;
Carrie B. Spindel, Psy D

Course Description

The serious consequences of child abuse of maltreatment are among the most challenging things therapists encounter. There has in recent years been a surge of interest concerning early traumatization. This volume in the series Advances in Psychotherapy integrates results from the latest research showing the importance of early traumatization, into a compact and practical guide for practitioners.

Advances in biological knowledge have highlighted the potential chronicity of effects of childhood maltreatment, demonstrating particular life challenges in managing emotions forming and maintaining healthy relationships, healthy coping, and holding a positive outlook of oneself. The book first overviews current knowledge of the effects of childhood maltreatment, then provides diagnostic guidance, and subsequently goes on to profile promising and effective evidence-based interventions. Prevention programming that is multi-targeted at issues for maltreated individuals is highlighted. This text helps the practitioner or student to know what to look for, what questions need to be asked, how to handle the sensitive ethical implications, and what are promising avenues for effective coping.

About Authors

Christine Wekerle, PhD, is Associate Professor of Education, Psychology, and Psychiatry at the University of Western Ontario, (UWO). She is also a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children at UWO. Dr. Wekerle has conducted research over the past decade in the areas of child welfare, childhood maltreatment, the overlap between substance abuse and relationship violence, and violence prevention. She recently received a mid-career award to further research on adolescent healthy functioning and violence prevention among child protective services clients (Ontario Women’s Health Council/ CIHR Institute of Gender and Health).

Alex L. Miller, PsyD, is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences; Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychology; Director of Adolescent Depression and Suicide Program; Director of Clinical Services at PS 8 School-Based Mental Health Program at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY. Dr. Miller has spent the last decade heading a clinical-research team and training therapists internationally in the adaptation of dialectical behavior therapy for suicidal, self-injurious, and maltreated adolescents.

David A. Wolf, PhD, is the first recipient of the RBC Investments Chair in Developmental Psychopathology and Children’s Mental Health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and past president of Division 37 (Child, Youth, and Family Services). Dr. Wolfe has broad research and clinical interests in abnormal child and adolescent psychology, with a special focus on child abuse, domestic violence, and developmental psychopathology. He has authored numerous articles on these topics, especially in relation to the impact of early childhood trauma on later development in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. He recently received the Outstanding Career Award from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, and the John Dewan Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Psychology from the Ontario Mental Health Foundation.

Carrie B. Spindel, PsyD, received her BSc from Cornell University and her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Ferkauf School of Psychology, Yeshiva University. Dr. Spindel has expertise in the cognitive and behavioral treatment of maltreated children and adolescents. In 2004, she was granted the Distinguished Student Practice Award for Division 12 of the American Psychological Association. She is currently a post doctoral fellow at the Cognitive and Behavioral Consultants of Westchester in White Plains, NY.


Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the impact of maltreatment on the developing child and youth, especially the potential for psychopathology.
  2. Discuss the epidemiology, definition, and clinical manifestations of maltreatment.
  3. Demonstrate increased knowledge directly related to child and youth victimization and intervention.
  4. Assess the key clinical realities involved when working with children and youth with a background of childhood maltreatment.
  5. Explain parent-focused intervention and the most promising programs for service delivery when treating abused and/or neglected children and their families.
  6. Utilize clinical tools and resources provided by the authors for use in the assessment of childhood maltreatment.

Course Contents

  1. DESCRIPTION
    1. Terminology
    2. Definition
    3. Epidemiology
    4. Course and Prognosis
  2. THEORIES AND MODELS OF THE EFFECTS OF CHILDHOOD MALTREATMENT
    1. PTSD Symptomatology Model
    2. Social Cognitive Information Processing Models
  3. DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT INDICATIONS
    1. Psychiatric Impairment and Specific Disorders Associated with Childhood Maltreatment
      1. Mood Disorders
      2. Suicide al/Self-Harm Behaviors
      3. Anxiety Disorders
      4. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
      5. Dissociation
      6. Behavioral Problems and Disorders
      7. Substance Use Disorders
      8. Eating Disorders
      9. Personality Disorders
      10. Asymptomatic Victims
  4. TREATMENT: INTERVENING WITH CHILDHOOD MALTREATMENT VICTIMS
    1. Methods of Treatment
      1. Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT)
    2. Mechanisms of Action: Components of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Treatment
      1. Child Treatment: Coping Skills Training
      2. Child Treatment: Cognitive Processing
      3. Child Treatment: Gradual Exposure
      4. Child Treatment: Psychoeducation
      5. Parent Treatment
      6. Parent Treatment: Orientation
      7. Parent Treatment: Coping Skills Training
      8. Parent Treatment: Gradual Exposure
      9. Parent Treatment: Psychoeducation
    3. Efficacy and Prognosis
      1. Empirical Support of TF-CBT for Childhood Sexual Abuse
      2. Empirical Support of TF-CBT for Childhood Physical Abuse
    4. Variations and Combinations of Methods
      1. Dialectical Behavior Therapy
    5. Problems and Issues in Carrying Out the Treatments
      1. Individual problems
      2. Family Problems

Post Test


Customer Comments

“I teach kindergarten as well as having my social work degree. These types of courses are ideal due to my work schedule and I have the text to refer to in the future when the need arises for reference.” – A.P., LBSW, AL