Research to Action: Sexually Exploited Minors Needs and Strengths

We are pleased to announce the release of WestCoast’s first research brief“Research to Action: Sexually Exploited Minors Needs and Strengths.”  

The disturbing underground industry that thrives on selling children for sex is an alarming and complex problem that has no simple solution. But we’re dedicated to doing what it takes to end child sexual exploitation. Continue reading

Crossing the Cultural Divide: Issues in Translation, Mistrust, and Cocreation of Meaning in Cross-Cultural Therapeutic Assessment

Crossing the Cultural Divide: Issues in Translation, Mistrust, and Cocreation of Meaning in Cross-Cultural Therapeutic Assessment

published in the Journal of Personality Assessment Volume 94, Issue 3, 2012

by Audrey Rosenberg, Angelica Almeida & Heather Macdonald, WestCoast Children’s Clinic, Oakland, California

Abstract

This article examines cross-cultural therapeutic assessment in a community mental health clinic. The first case describes the work between a Caucasian assessor and a Mexican American family. The authors explore the metaphorical and literal translation of the findings from English to Spanish and the parallel process of translation of the self, experienced by both assessor and client. The second case describes the work between a Caucasian assessor and an African American adolescent. We describe the inherent challenge between the Eurocentric “task” orientation of the evaluation and the Afrocentric “relationship” orientation. We suggest that bridging the gap between cultures and overcoming cultural mistrust lay in the building of the assessor–client relationship. Fischer’s concepts of rapport and intimacy are emphasized and expanded on as we emphasize the importance of cocreated meaning in cross-cultural assessment work.

Visit the publisher’s website for access to the full article.

 

Why Did She Put Nail Polish in my Drink? Applying the Therapeutic Assessment Model With an African American Foster Child in a Community Mental Health Setting

Why Did She Put Nail Polish in My Drink? Applying the Therapeutic Assessment Model With an African American Foster Child in a Community Mental Health Setting

published in Journal of Personality Assessment Volume 93, Issue 1

by Brooke Guerrero, Jessica Lipkind, and Audrey Rosenberg, WestCoast Children’s Clinic

Abstract

Although the majority of research on Therapeutic Assessment (TA) discusses the application of TA in research or private practice settings, we found that the model could be applied in a community mental health setting. We argue that when implementing this model with racially diverse, low socioeconomic status children, it is essential to integrate issues of class, privilege, and race into the assessment process. A case is presented that illuminates the specific concerns and struggles of adapting this model to a community psychology population. This analysis includes the interface with systems, placement stability, and consideration of culturally responsible treatment. We also demonstrate how the support of a treatment team helps the individual clinician process and integrate the levels of trauma and pain with which these families present.

Access the full article on the journal’s website.

Training Assessors in Therapeutic Assessment

Training Assessors in Therapeutic Assessment

Published in the Journal of Personality Assessment Volume 93, Issue 1

by Maryanne E. Haydel, Barbara L. Mercer, and Erin Rosenblatt, WestCoast Children’s Clinic

Abstract

This article focuses on the use of the comprehensive Therapeutic Assessment training model (Finn, 2007) with a child and his mother. The mother observed the child’s testing sessions and was actively involved in a family intervention session as a way of translating assessment results into practice. One psychologist administered the psychological tests with the child, and 2 other clinicians worked with the mother throughout the process. We offer ideas about learning and training in the context of our case in Therapeutic Assessment. We investigate the parallel process between the way in which parents learn about their child’s perspective and the way in which clinicians learn about the family’s perspective. We discuss our discoveries in the context of planning case interventions. We explore the impact of trauma and ways of holding and containing this difficult work within our community and with each other.

Access the full article on the journal’s website.

Psychological Assessment of Children in a Community Mental Health Clinic

Psychological Assessment of Children in a Community Mental Health Clinic

published in Journal of Personality Assessment Volume 93, Issue 1

by Barbara L. Mercer, PsyD, WestCoast’s Assessment Program Director

Abstract

Collaborative and Therapeutic Assessment (TA) models (Finn & Tonsager, 1997; Fischer, 1985/1994) use psychological tests to answer clientconstructed assessment questions in an understandable language, to be an intervention in and of themselves, and to initiate recommendations related to the referral. This article considers the application of Finn’s TA model to an urban community psychology clinic in Oakland, California, where foster and kinship care, the child welfare system, trauma, neglect, and attachment disruptions are children’s usual experience. These children hide their pain and complaints (Kelly, 1999), but show highly problematic behaviors to bewildered and frustrated caretakers, social workers, and school personnel. Their trauma, however, also often permeates the assessment data and shocks the assessor. A rationale is made for the necessity of a relational, culturally aware, systemic model in providing psychological assessment services to children and families in a community setting.

Visit the journal’s website to access the full article.

Rethinking Dependent Personality Disorder: Comparing Different Human Relatedness in Cultural Contexts

Rethinking Dependent Personality Disorder: Comparing Different Human Relatedness in Cultural Contexts

Published in the Journal of Nervous and Medical Disease Volume 197, Issue 11

by YuJu Chen, Psy.D, Margaret E. Nettles, PhD, and Shun-Wen Chen, PhD

Dr. Margaret Nettles is WestCoast’s Intern Training Program Director

Abstract

We argue that the Diagnotstic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders dependent personality disorder is a culturally related concept reflecting deeply rooted values, beliefs, and assumptions of American individualistic convictions about self and interpersonal relationship. This article integrates social psychology concepts into the exploration of psychopathology. Beginning with the construct of individualism and collectivism, we demonstrate the limitations of this commonly used framework. The indigenous Chinese concept of Confucianism and Chinese Relationalism is introduced to highlight that a well-differentiated self is not a universal premise of human beings, healthy existence. In East Asian Confucianism the manifestation of dependence and submission may be considered individuals’ proper behavior and required for their social obligation, rather than a direct display of individuals’ personality. Thus, the complexity of dependent personality disorder is beyond the neo-Kraepelinian approach assumed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders system.

Visit the journal’s website to access the full article.

Examples from the Road: Mindlessness in Home

Examples from the Road: Mindlessness in Home

published in the Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Volume 7, Issue 2

by April D. Fernando, PsyD, WestCoast’s Chief of Clinical Operations, Research, and Training

This article explores the experiences and challenges of being a clinician in a community-based model, a model used at WestCoast Children’s Clinic. To access the full article visit the journal’s website.

Demands upon the Mind for Work: Fostering Agency Within an Organization

Demands upon the Mind for Work: Fostering Agency Within an Organization

Published in the Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy Volume 7, Issue 2

by Kelley Bryan Gin, PsyD, WestCoast’s Director of Operations

This article explores the experience on a personal level of working within an organization that serves foster youth and low-income youth and the necessary qualities to thrive professionally in that environment.  You may access the full article at the journal’s website.