Review of Journal of Emotional Abuse-Interventions, Research & Theories of Psychological Maltreatment, Trauma & Nonphysical Aggression
Slopak, Charlotte, The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Review of Journal of Emotional Abuse - Interventions, Research & Theories of Psychological Maltreatment, Trauma & Nonphysical Aggression
Editors: Robert Geffner, Ph.D. and B. B. Robbie Rossman, Ph.D.
The Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma Press. Volume 1 Number, 1 1998
Geffner and Rossman, the editors of this new journal, define emotional abuse as "the nonphysical degradation of the self which lowers worth and interferes with human development and productivity" (p. 2). These two psychologists also edit other journals on abuse and family violence and are experts in the field.
This charter issue of the journal contains six articles, three of which serve as comprehensive reviews of the literature and an excellent introduction to the area of emotional abuse. A paper by Hart, Bingelli and Brassard presents six categories of parental emotional abuse of their children: "spurning" (which includes ridiculing, belittling, and public humiliation); "exploiting/corrupting"; "terrorizing"; "denying emotional responsiveness" (ignoring the child); "isolating" (restricting freedom of interaction with others); and "mental health, medical, and educational neglect." Hart et al. present some important and perhaps surprising findings, for example, that emotional abuse is a stronger predictor of juvenile delinquency than is physical abuse, as well as being a stronger predictor of low self-esteem and depression. In a longitudinal study of children from birth to adulthood (The Minnesota Mother-Child Interaction Project), among all mistreated groups, the "most devastating" outcomes were found in the children of mothers who were psychologically unavailable, that is, who were denying emotional responsiveness.
A paper by Perlman, presenting "A Theoretical and Clinical Perspective" on "Trauma and the Self," is a good, basic article on the deficits in self capacities of victims of abuse. It offers guidance on appropriate therapy, "CSDT," an integration of psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral therapy. While clearly written, giving specific examples, this article would have been enriched by the addition of a short clinical case presentation.
Three other papers were more specific in focus. …