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NCJ Number: 98323 Find in a Library
Title: Young Child Who Witnessed Her Mother's Murder - Therapeutic and Legal Considerations
Journal: American Journal of Psychotherapy  Volume:38  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1984)  Pages:132-145
Author(s): C H Zeanah; G S Burk
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 14
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper presents the case study of 3-year-old Jill, who watched her father strangle her mother to death, and describes the therapeutic and legal considerations in the case.
Abstract: Jill and her father were taken to the police station for questioning the day after the murder of her mother, Denise. Neighbors had reported hearing a fierce quarrel and sounds of a struggle; Denise's body was found the next day in another part of the apartment complex. On the basis of Jill's statement and her father's questioning, her father was arrested and charged with murder. Jill was returned to the custody of Eva and Joe, who had previously served as her foster parents. Since the murder, Jill had become anxious and active and was suffering from night terrors and bedwetting; one month after the murder she was taken for treatment. The goals of the treatment were to relieve her suffering by eliminating her symptoms; to restore her psychological equilibrium; and to minimize the risk of future psychological problems resulting from the trauma. A number of theoretical and clinical concerns impinged on the achievement of these goals, including work with the foster parents, posttraumatic stress, mourning, identification and aggression, and termination. Because restoring psychological equilibrium and minimizing long-term harm were of paramount importance, Jill's clinician prevented her from testifying in court. Clinicians treating children who have witnessed parent-parent homicide must confront complex thereapeutic and case management issues. Included are 33 references.
Index Term(s): Family offenses; Juvenile case studies; Juvenile witnesses; Murder; Psychological evaluation
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