The Psychological Assessment of Abused and Traumatized Children

By Francis D. Kelly | Go to book overview

7
The Abused and Traumatized Child: Changes in Object Relations and Ego Functions--The Influence and Impact of Therapeutic and Mutative Experiences

With abused and maltreated children, it is essential to weigh how a variety of designed corrective emotional and environmental experiences coalesce, prompting change and improved adaptation. Empirically, change herein may be witnessed by several or all of the following criteria: reduced symptoms, improved behavior, better relatedness, and decreased difficulty with affect and impulse regulation, with these representing fairly agreed on domains of functioning that should reflect improvement if the abused or traumatized child is doing better. Employment of reliable and valid rating scales (e.g., CBCL) provide one important avenue for outcome measurement of manifest functioning. Of equal importance is the need to also evaluate the corresponding personality and structural transformations that occur, given the fact that accounts of manifest functioning often belie, but may not complement, concomitant inner changes in some instances. Yet, in other cases, manifest change may converge with and complement structural alterations. Perhaps most importantly, the rationale for this rests on the fact that psychological variables (e.g., object representation measures) serve as pivotal mediating variables that have cogent predictive validity in relation to prognostications regarding manifest functioning--in this case, the dimensions of relatedness.

The utilization of Rorschach and TAT results employed to capture the nuances of psychological change in relation to the psychotherapeutic situation with children is hardly new. Long ago, Spiegelman and Klopfer ( 1956)

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