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Course Details
Price $119.00

Psychodynamics of Child Abuse and Trauma (8 CE Credits)

Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect have devastating consequences for the intrapsychic and interpersonal development of the child, in large part because of what they reflect about the corrupted child-caretaker relationship.  Learn about the psychodynamics and impact of child abuse.    


Course Objectives


Psychodynamics of Child Abuse and Trauma is an introductory/intermediate level course designed to help the participant:  

  • Describe the characteristics common to childhood trauma, as described by Lenore Terr: repetitive memories and behaviors, trauma-specific fears, and changed attitudes about people, life, or the future;  
  • Be able to apply these characteristics to clinical examples;  
  • Describe the important role of the parental relationship as a stimulus barrier for the child;  
  • Describe the characteristics and functions of the “four Ds” (denial, distortion, distancing, and destruction), as responses to a lack of parental protection;  
  • Be able to apply these characteristics to clinical examples;  
  • Describe the five stages of Roland Summit’s Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome (secrecy, helplessness, entrapment and accommodation, disclosure, and retraction), as they may apply to many types of child abuse;  
  • Be able to apply these stages to clinical examples;  
  • Describe the implications of abuse by a parent in terms of a corruption of parent-child roles;
  • Describe the likely multigenerational aspect of child abuse;
  • Describe the role of child abuse as a risk factor for a variety of DSM diagnoses, including dissociative, anxiety, and personality disorders.


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 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 is considered an expert in the field of child abuse.

Click here for opening remarks by Dr. Gerson.


Course Format


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.  This course may be applied to our Certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy if desired.

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