Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Psychological child abuse-Prevention, Psychologically abused children-Treatment, Emotional abuse, Child abuse, Psychological maltreatment, Child abuse prevention


The purpose of this study was to explore the subjective experience of the professionals in the Denver/Boulder area working with emotional abuse that occurs between children and their caretakers and to examine the obstacles they experience to more effective prevention and intervention of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is a widespread and damaging social problem that is often ignored or minimized by the legal system, the child welfare system and the mental health system (Doyle, 1997; Glaser, 2011; Marshall, 2012). This study interviewed 12 key informants from the mental health system, the child welfare system and the legal system and included licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, lawyers and child welfare workers. The interviews explored their views on emotional abuse, their experiences working with emotional abuse, their assessment of the systems in which they work along with recommendations of how to better prevent and intervene with emotional abuse. The study found that many professionals struggle to define emotional abuse and that they encounter many obstacles while working with emotional abuse.




iii, 104 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 81-90)