Exploring Childhood Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Clinical Case Study of a Child Abuse Victim

Crossleysmith, Virginia (2008) Exploring Childhood Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Clinical Case Study of a Child Abuse Victim. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


Download (884kB) | Preview


This Clinical Case Study describes the experience and treatment of a young girl who was abused and neglected by her biological parents. She was removed from their care at age six and adopted at age nine. I explore her experience from the perspective of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with particular attention to victims of child maltreatment. I emphasize the inadequacies of the current diagnostic criterion in accounting for the symptoms of children who are victims of abuse. A discussion of PTSD emanates from the literature relating to the etiology, definition, and treatment of childhood PTSD from a variety of perspectives and approaches including: Biological, Cognitive/Behavioral, Psychodynamic, Sociocultural, and Imaginal. All of the perspectives note that reaction to trauma is normal and adaptive, and that PTSD results when that adaptive response goes awry. The Biological perspective examines physiological reactions emphasizing that children’s brains are particularly vulnerable since they are still developing; the Cognitive/Behavioral perspective stresses assimilation or accommodation of trauma-related memories and describes techniques which facilitate this; the Psychodynamic perspective describes unconscious psychological defenses resulting from trauma, and discusses relational-oriented treatment approaches vi including play therapy for maltreated children; the Sociocultural perspective emphasizes social adversity increasing the potential for traumatic experiences; and the imaginal approach describes the importance of myths and archetypal imagery in gaining greater understanding of inner processes, and the relationship of those processes to issues of the soul. The psychotherapy is described in detail noting both the reactions and responses engendered in myself and in my young client, with attention given to the legal and ethical concerns, and treatment outcomes. I describe my insights into my own and my client’s psychological processes and perceptions resulting from the psychotherapy experience, and my interpretations of both. Such insights and interpretations are deepened by a recognition and description of their mythic implications utilizing the myth of Demeter and Persephone in order to amplify the experience and meaning of the therapeutic journey. Finally I reflect on the significance of the therapeutic journey, and its wider implications, particularly regarding its relationship with the discipline of the imaginal approach to psychology.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Depositing User: Virginia Crossleysmith
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 21:49
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2017 21:49
URI: http://scholarship.meridianuniversity.edu/id/eprint/109

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item