ChildParent Psychotherapy and Traumatic Exposure to Violence By Vilma Reyes and Alicia Lieberman

This article illustrates the multidimensional impact of violence during infancy and the effectiveness of a relationship-focused treatment, childparent psychotherapy (CPP), in addressing the traumatic consequences of exposure to violence. The authors describe the treatment of a 3-year-old boy and his mother and highlight three key points: (a) Infants have the capacity to remember traumatic events and encode preverbal memories into images that can be narrated once language is acquired; (b) a therapeutic working relationship with the parent provides a framework for trauma-focused treatment; and (c) speaking about and using toys to reenact what happened, and practicing ways of feeling safe and protected, provide a vehicle to regulate emotions and create trust in the parents capacity to protect.