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Falling Through the Cracks: Psychodynamic Practice with Vulnerable and Oppressed Populations

ISBN: 9780231151085 | 023115108X
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr
Pub. Date: 11/4/2011

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Psychodynamic theory and practice are often misunderstood as appropriate only for the worried well or those whose problems are minimal or routine. Nothing could be further from the truth. This book shows how psychodynamically informed, clinically based social care is essential to working with those whose problems are both psychological and social. Essays address populations struggling with structural inequities, such as racism, classism, immigrant status, language differences, disability, and sexual orientation. They explain how to provide psychodynamically informed assessment and practice when working with those suffering from mental illness, addiction, homelessness, and cognitive, visual, or auditory impairments, as well as people in prisons, orphanages, and child welfare. The volume supports the idea that becoming aware of ourselves helps to understand ourselves: a key approach for helping clients contain and name their feelings, deal with desire and conflict, achieve self-regulation and self-esteem, alter attachment styles, and free themselves toward greater agency and empowerment. Yet autonomy and empowerment are not birthrights; they are capacities that must be fostered. This collection uses concepts derived from drive theory, ego psychology, object relations, trauma theory, attachment theory, self psychology, and intersubjectivity in clinical work with vulnerable and oppressed populations. Contributors are experienced practitioners whose work has enabled them to elicit and find common humanity with their clients. The authors consistently convey respect for the considerable strength and resourcefulness of their clients. Emphasizing the importance of the inner life of client and clinician and their interacting social identities, this anthology uniquely realizes the ethnically and contextually diverse realities of clinical social work practice.

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