• Questioning Therapists and Social Workers

    Communication

    For the questionnaire exercise, I sent out a group of questions to carefully picked therapists, psychologists, and social workers according to their specific study and patients they work with. Emails were revised for the fifteen different individuals in order to direct the questions more towards the age group and victims they worked with.

    The questions that were asked are very personal, but vital questions in understanding what therapy sessions with victims are like. Statistics can only say so much on how many victims there are, how many come forward, but only experienced individuals can tell me how the victims act and interact with the therapist, themselves, and their environment.

    (Questions on children)

    1. What are some of the first things you do and ask a child who comes in for therapy regarding abuse?

    2. Is it mandatory for parents to be in the therapy room with the child? If so, how do parents' actions and words effect how the child responds?

    3. Is one-on-one therapy more beneficial for the child, or is group therapy or collaborative art projects more beneficial?

    4. What are some of the common responses from children during therapy when asked about an abuser?

    5. If left untreated, what are some long term effects of abuse?

    (Questions on adults)

    1. How do you recognize abuse in adults? What are the most common signs?

    2. What is the likelihood of successfully "fixing" a domestic violence issue between married couples in joint therapy?

    3. What kind of facial expressions or hand movements have you observed in patients undergoing therapy for abuse?

    4. In your opinion, what could be done to encourage more victims to speak up and report abuse?

    5. Have any of your patients been killed during escalated forms of abuse?

  • Emily:

    Nicely formed question. Do you plan to also get perspectives of families too?

    That could be difficult it seems, but really critical. Maybe this could happen through the therapists/case workers? Have you looked at any scholarly journals yet? I'm sure you can find relevant articles there. There are many on the New School's library website.

    Jesse

  • Emily, I really liked your survey. Can I talk about it in my presentation about interpreting data from surveys at monday's class? How many responses did you get? can you please write a couple of paragraphs based on the results of this work and send it to me by tomorrow (sunday) afternoon? Let me know. Thanks. steven


  • In response to your survey, posted by steven landau,
    in the thread Questioning Therapists and Social Workers

    Hi Steven.

    Sure please feel free to use whatever you need for your presentation. But I must add that I only got two responses and the age group was different.

    The first professional I sent the survey to is a counseling, psychotherapist. She actually specializes in therapy with adults. Her profile had said that she deals with domestic violence, but in her response she says she doesn't, but has some experience with domestic violence cases. Because she worked with adults, I only sent her the questions regarding adult health and state of mind. She actually only answered the first two... perhaps she got tired or the questions were too much to type answers to, which is why I feel I got a better response from the professionals when I called, as in the second therapist who asked for a phone call than an email.

    This is her response,

    1. How do you recognize abuse in adults? What are the most common signs? The people that I deal with are able to say what they are dealing with. Often they have had a pattern of being in abusive relationships; one woman was chased to the agency where I saw her by a man she had just started seeing-and this was after we'd found safe housing for her after violence with her husband.

    2. What is the likelihood of successfully "fixing" a domestic violence issue between married couples in joint therapy? Depending on the level and frequency of the abuse, they may need to be seen separately. That's the traditional way of doing treatment. They can be seen together one time IF THEY HAVE IMPULSE CONTROL AND EGO STRENGTH to manage themselves AND IF THERE HAS "ONLY" BEEN ONE INCIDENT that was not a complete loss of control, just to set some ground rules (if you feel your palms getting sweaty-or whatever that person's signs are-you take yourself out of the situation or if you see this in your partner you take yourself out of it, your partner wil leave and call the police if you ever do this again, etc.) The fixing is done in intensive individual therapy, but if there's been beating and a real history, there's not going to be any fixing that's possible, in my opinion.

    The second therapist, was more helpful, in the fact that she deals with children of all age groups, and helps them cope and heal from extreme trauma through therapy. She was a bit more helpful. She was able to elaborate on her experience and the specific type of therapy she specializes in for children: play therapy.

    1. What are some of the first things you do and ask a child who comes in for therapy regarding abuse?" A play therapist such as myself do not ask the children any questions. Instead, we play with them in the child centers, which consists of various types of play therapy toys. Play is the language and toys are words. If they choose to speak to us, then I will engage in conversation but other wise, I try to stay away from asking questions. During the therapy session, I focus on their specific actions and how they play with certain toys. We have a spectrum of measuring the state of the child and which play therapy approach to take when interacting with the child. Sometimes, bringing in some techniques of art therapy is helpful too. Just letting the children draw sometimes just helps to understand.

    2. Is it mandatory for parents to be in the therapy room with the child? If so how do parents actions and words effect how the child responds? Parents are preferred not to be in the therapy room with the child, but also depends on each issue. The general tactic is parent child separate therapy.

    3. Is one on one therapy more beneficial for the child or is group therapy or collaborative art projects more beneficial? That's a good questions. Both are very helpful when dealing with children, but again this also changes with each case. It really depends on the state of the child and whether they are ready to join a large group of kids, or if they need personal alone therapy time.

    4. What are some of the common responses from children during therapy when asked about the abuser? Well since I try not to ask any questions, there aren't really any 'common responses'. But if the topic of the abuser does come up, they try to avoid it by leaving to play with another toy or just withdraws. But that's what play therapy is good because the children talk through their actions, and that's what I read.

    5. If left untreated what are some long term effects of abuse? Oh, there are many effects. The most common is that the victim will have relationship issues, trouble trusting people, have family problems, may not be able to hold long term relationships, even become abusive later themselves.

    The therapist had many things to say about play therapy and children. She also took some time to name some of the different toy categories they use for different causes, such as aggression toys, nurturing toys, pretending toys, etc. Although my survey was handled differently than my classmates, I feel that even just speaking to one therapist who deals with child therapy and abuse was helpful. I hope to try and continue to contact various child therapists and broaden my knowledge and knit together the gap between book research and the professionals.


  • In response to Survery Response, posted by Emily Kim,
    in the thread Questioning Therapists and Social Workers

    emily, I totally agree that, even though your responses were not as many as you had hoped, the depth of the responses completely makes up for it. You are probably correct in your surmise that the first one got tired of doing and just hit send. It's a lot to ask strangers to actually write in paragraph form, usually they would get paid for doing that.

    In spite of the low number of responses, there is much to be learned here. As I was reading along, I was picturing the therapy sessions they were describing, and imaging possible products that could make the therapist's job more effective. Some of these I immediately rejected mentally; for example, when the adult therapist said that people's palms get sweaty, I was wondering if maybe a sweaty-palm detector that notified the doctor if there was a problem would be good...of course it's ridiculous, but I had to imagine if first to make that decision. I find myself doing this a lot, and I think it's a good habit for a designer to have.

    I really like what you have done here, and I would like to take excerpts for my little presentation on Monday, so thanks very much. steven

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