Tori J Essay

Pages: 9 (3375 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

Her foster family is involved in a moderately fundamental church community that believes in the Bible as the word of God. Given the numerous biblical passages that suggest that rape is not an offense against the victim but against her father or husband, this religiosity could actually reinforce Tori J.'s feelings that she somehow deserved any sexual abuse she received. As a result, I think this is a macro weakness. However, the state is not prohibited to discriminate on the basis of religion, so there may not be a realistic solution to this macro weakness. Moreover, the middle-class suburban atmosphere in which she currently lives is sufficiently different from the impoverished community that Tori J. experienced as a child that she may not feel as if she can discuss any of the circumstances of her childhood. However, the educational and social opportunities linked to the increase in financial status are, overall, a macro strength.

Intervention that went well

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Although very well intentioned, Tori J.'s foster family, particularly her mother, engage in a high-control style that results in Tori J. not being able to exercise a lot of control in her life. One of the interventions that Tori J.'s school counselor suggested was for Tori J. To always be given a choice of at least two alternative behaviors. For example, rather than instructing Tori J. To brush her teeth, her foster mother was told to give her the option of "brushing her teeth first and then taking her shower or taking her shower first and then brushing her teeth." Every instruction was to be given as a choice between two alternatives. Tori J.'s teachers have also, to the extent possible, changed their approach to her so that they would be giving her choices as well.

Essay on Tori J. Is a 12-Year-Old Assignment

Although presenting Tori J. with choices does not always result in complete compliance with expectations and norms, it does result in a higher compliance rate than when she is simply told to do something. This makes sense in light of the known history of physical abuse and the strongly suspected history of sexual abuse. "Traumatic events overwhelm the ordinary systems of care that give people a sense of control, connection, and meaning" (Herman, 1997, p.33). This seems to be especially true for sexual assault victims, who lose the right to control their own bodily autonomy during the assault.

Intervention that went less well

In many ways, I would suggest that Tori J.'s removal to a foster home, which hopes to eventually become an adoptive home, is an intervention. In terms of her physical safety, this intervention has gone very well; she is not in any physical danger in her new foster home. However, from an adjustment and psychosocial perspective, I believe that this intervention, on its own, has not done very well. Tori J.'s foster mother is the biological mother of two other children and the foster mother for three children (Tori J. And two of her biological siblings). By all reports, she is a loving, non-violent woman with a long history of positive community involvement. However, Tori J.'s behavior has been aimed at transforming their relationship into an antagonistic one. She repeatedly provokes her foster mother, going so far as to use physical violence and threats against her. This has resulted in the foster mother feeling many negative emotions, including fear and resentment, towards Tori J. The foster mother has also imposed an increasingly controlling regime, in an effort to stem the negative behaviors by Tori J., which only increased Tori J.'s negative behaviors towards her foster mother.

This result is not actually a surprise. On the contrary, this pattern could and should have been anticipated by mental health professionals. "The youngster who has internalized the abusive object relationship will provoke peers and authority figures into the same abusive relationship as the original abusive object. They often will reject and abuse good external objects who offer support, empathy, or nurturance" (Seinfeld, 1989, pp.42-43). However, Tori J.'s foster mother was not warned of this probable reaction. Although told to expect some problems, I do not feel as if they were adequately prepared to deal with the extent of the problems presented by Tori J. Moreover, although the state has continued to provide supportive care, it has not provided on-going training for the foster family to enable it to deal with the developments in Tori J.'s personality as she ages.

While this intervention has not gone as well as it could have been if Tori J.'s foster mother had been given better preparation to parent her, it has not been an absolute failure. Tori J.'s foster mother may be strict with her, but has formed a loving relationship with her, despite the negative emotions that she also feels. It is actually the presence of this loving relationship that led to the elimination of a possible reactive attachment disorder (RAD) diagnosis, which is common in children whose circumstances are sufficiently abusive to necessitate removal . "If a child has RAD, the lack of connection and attachment goes both ways…As a result, these children are difficult to work with because their lack of interest in other people and their inability to empathize makes them hard to like. Interacting with them feels empathy, not engaging" (Perry & Szalavitz, 2008, pp.206-207.) However, Tori J.'s foster family feels highly engaged in their relationship with her and like her. Although this affection has not been sufficient to fix Tori J.'s behavior, it has helped guide her diagnosis and point the way to different interventions.

It is difficult to suggest a better intervention in this scenario, because removal from the birth parent home was necessary. Tori J. was in immediate danger of continued physical and sexual abuse, so that her removal from the home was necessary. Furthermore, placement in a foster home environment meant that she could stay with her male siblings and be placed in a family environment. However, better training and preparation for potential foster parents would help foster parents know how to deal with a child who attempts to elicit the same abusive relationship from foster parents that existed in a traumatic home. Had her foster family been better prepared for some of Tori J.'s behaviors, they may have sought formal intervention at an earlier point in time and not reacted as they would have with a child who had not experienced trauma.

Transference / Countertransference

Because my interactions with Tori J. were somewhat limited, I cannot say that I think she ever engaged in any significant level of transference with me. On some level, I represented the concept of authority figures to her, but I do not believe that she viewed me as a surrogate for either of her parents or for her abusers. However, her refusal to discuss, or even acknowledge, the childhood sexual abuse, makes it difficult to know how she views her abusers. Despite that difficulty, I think that my clearly defined role, and the fact that I was not the social worker involved in her removal from her home, has helped with boundary setting. "It is stabilizing in the long run to be clear about boundaries, and for patients to realistically understand the nature of the relationship" (Chu, 1988, p.27). However, I did see significant signs of transference in her discussions of her relationships with her foster mother and with one of her group counseling facilitators. However, we simply did not engage in the depth of counseling that would have elicited a normal transference response from her. Likewise, I cannot say that Tori J. really stood for any person that I encountered at a prior point in my life.

However, in many ways, Tori J. indicated to me that I was in danger of burning out. Although she was not a child with RAD, and she did engage with people on an interpersonal level, I found myself very depressed about working with her. The depression was not because I did not care about her outcome, but because I had become aware that my level of care or concern had no impact on her outcome. Much like Van Dernoot Lipsky, my experience with Tori J. made me realize that, "I had absorbed and accumulated trauma to the point that it had become part of me, and my view of the world had changed" (2009, p.3). I no longer felt optimistic and positive about things, but a sense of hopelessness about things. Moreover, I would need much longer to process my feelings about Tori J. than I would about many of the children with whom I worked. In some ways, I think I may have experienced a countertransference of a sort where I was Tori J., because the hopelessness and lack of action that she experienced is something I would feel after our sessions. In some ways, this makes sense. "In a psychoanalytic psychotherapy process, we are always dealing with temporarily bequeathed psychic elements, even after the patient leaves… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Tori J" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Tori J.  (2013, July 2).  Retrieved January 24, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Tori J."  2 July 2013.  Web.  24 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Tori J."  July 2, 2013.  Accessed January 24, 2021.