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Course Details
Price $119.00

Psychodynamics of Child Abuse and Trauma (8 CE Credits)

Physical, sexual, and emotional child abuse and neglect reflect a devastating corruption of the child-caretaker relationship and have deleterious effects on both intrapsychic and interpersonal development.   In this course, Dr. Michael J. Gerson considers emotional, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes; multigenerational issues; and pertinent DSM diagnoses.  His in-depth discussion from a psychodynamic perspective includes considerations of trans-diagnostic issues such as substance abuse, eating disorders, PTSD, and personality disorders.  Case examples are discussed.  Please note that this material, by its nature, may be stressful.

The course includes an online written manuscript and accompanying audio files, for optional review in multiple modalities.  An online multiple choice test and Certificate of Completion follow completion of the course. A brief video provides opening remarks by Dr. Gerson.  May be applied to the Certificate of Advanced Study in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy if desired.  8 CE credits. Intermediate level.  $119.



Course Objectives

As a result of this learning activity, the participant will be able to:

  • list three behavioral and attitudinal characteristics common in children who have been exposed to trauma,
  • apply the three behavioral and attitudinal characteristics to clinical practice with survivors of trauma,
  • describe the parental role as a stimulus barrier for the child,
  • describe four defenses that result from a lack of parental protection,
  • describe how these defenses may manifest and impact clinical work with survivors of abuse,
  • describe the five stages of the accommodation syndrome, as they may apply to childhood sexual abuse,
  • apply the identification of the five stages to clinical practice with survivors of sexual abuse,
  • describe the differential implications of in-home abuse and stranger abuse,
  • describe the multigenerational aspect of child abuse, and
  • describe the role of child abuse as a risk factor for various DSM diagnoses.


Course Content and Details


Product Description

Psychodynamics of Child Abuse and Trauma

Psychodynamics of Child Abuse and TraumaPsychodynamics of Child Abuse and Trauma provides an in-depth understanding of childhood maltreatment and its subsequent impact on emotional and psychological development.  The course is designed to enhance clinical applications with both children and adult survivors of abuse. 

It begins with a discussion about the nature of trauma and distinguishes between acute and repeated traumas.  The impact of age of onset and of contextual factors surrounding the traumatic events are considered, including the child’s relationship to the perpetrator, the availability of protective relationships in the child’s social network, the type of abuse perpetrated, whether the abuse is ever disclosed and how, and the response by others to any disclosures.  The course concludes with an examination of the DSM-5, which recognizes child abuse as a significant factor in the development of a broad range of psychiatric disorders.




Michael J. Gerson, PhDThe Instructor is Dr. Michael J. Gerson, an experienced Psychologist, Psychoanalyst, and Marriage and Family Therapist in California.  He has been training clinicians for over 30 years, both in his private practice, in community counseling centers, and as a professor of psychology in graduate programs.  He has a great deal of experience in treating child abuse and in teaching about the psychodynamics of child maltreatment. He is renowned for his depth of understanding of the therapeutic process and for his keen ability to translate complex concepts into terms that are clear and that can be applied to the clinician’s own work.  He recently provided the chapter, “Psychodynamic theories of the family,” for the three-volume handbook, APA Handbook of Contemporary Family Therapy, edited by B. Fiese (2018) and published by the American Psychological Association.

Click here for opening remarks by Dr. Gerson.


Program Information


APA Approved Sponsor





The Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies maintains responsibility for this program and its content.



Conflicts of Interest or Commercial Support

There is no commercial support or other potential conflicts of interest for this program, presentation, or instructor.


Commitment to Diversity and Accessibility

We are committed to respecting diversity in all of its forms, including age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, language, socioeconomic status, religion, and disability. We also strive to make all of our activities accessible to individuals with special needs or disabilities. Please contact the Director at if you ever have any questions or concerns regarding any of our programs.


Sources and Relevance

Our programs and teaching methods are supported by current, empirically-based scientific literature, and are designed to provide continuing education that is relevant to psychological practice, education, and/or research, so that psychologists may maintain and expand their ability to serve the public and contribute to the profession.


Target Audience

Our courses are designed for postdoctoral-level psychologists; this course is an intermediate-level course. All mental health professionals, educators, and researchers have a variety of educational backgrounds and needs—if you have any questions about whether this course could benefit you and/or would be appropriate for your level of training, please do not hesitate to contact us. You may contact the Director directly at with any questions or concerns.


Course Schedule

This course will be available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you will be able pace yourself in a manner that is comfortable for you.


Cost and Refund/Cancellation Policy

The cost of the course is noted below and there no additional fees. Your satisfaction is important to us. If you are not satisfied with a course, please let us know immediately—we will cancel your order and gladly offer you a full refund.


Course Format Summary

This course includes an online written transcript and accompanying audio files, for optional review in multiple modalities.  An online multiple choice test and Certificate of Completion follow completion of the course for 8 CE credits.  Intermediate level. This course may be applied to the Certificate of Advanced Study in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy if desired. $119.


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