Erikson Institute

Inside Domestic Violence: Meanings, Mechanisms, Impact, and Repair for Early Childhood Witnesses, Survivor Caregivers and Abusive Partners.

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Working with families affected by Domestic Violence (DV) - also known as interpersonal violence (IPV) can be difficult and at times dispiriting, but as clinicians, we strive to advocate, maintain hope, and help families heal. In order to do our best possible work, it is important that we keep ourselves grounded in theory, research, and clinical knowledge. This workshop will give participants a comprehensive overview of the field of DV/IPV. Dr. Willheim will begin by teaching the mechanics of DV/ IPV including their historical origins of DV/IPV theory, historical and current definitions, dynamics, tactics, and types of abuse. Dr. Willheim will discuss DV/IPV from multiple perspectives. She will examine the mechanics of DV/IPV, risk factors and statistical prevalence as well as the theory and research regarding the impact of DV/IPV-trauma on early childhood, parenting, and the parent-child relationship. In addition, risks and resilience in intergenerational transmission, the role of DV/ IPV as an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE), and key elements of therapeutic interventions for survivor caregivers and young children will be described. The instructor will review the literature on the impact of DV/IPV on young children and caregivers, utilizing the research and clinical frames of Adverse Childhood Experiences, Relational PTSD, and scientific research on the impact of trauma in terms of physiology, psychology, and behavior for caregivers and young children. Current state of the art treatment interventions for survivor caregivers and young children will be explored. Additionally, the instructor will review the most-up-to-date literature on abusive partners and address the role of the abusive partner in terms of typologies, the impact of historical and personal trauma, and the state of current therapeutic interventions, including current treatment modalities.


Erica Willheim, Ph.D., is Research Assistant Professor at the Child Study Center in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, an instructor on the faculty of the Institute for Parenting at Adelphi University, and a nationally endorsed trainer in Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP). Dr. Willheim’s clinical and research areas of focus are early childhood mental health and trauma, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in parents and young children, the intergenerational transmission of trauma, the specific impact of domestic violence exposure on young children and caregivers, abusive partner group interventions, and CPP with offending fathers. She has over 20 years’ experience working in a broad range of NYC settings with high-risk young children, adolescents, adults, and families, particularly those involved in the criminal justice and child welfare systems who have suffered violent trauma exposure. Dr. Willheim has trained and supervised clinicians in CPP since 2009 and authored “Dyadic Psychotherapy with Infants and Young Children: Child-Parent Psychotherapy” in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, and co-authored “The Effects of Violent Experience on Infants and Young Children”, in C.H. Zeanah (Ed.), Handbook of Infant Mental Health—4th Edition.

Early Registration Fees Before January 10th- $99.
January 10th and after- $115


Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe mechanics of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), i.e. definition, dynamics, tactics, types of abuse, cycles of abuse, exposure statistics/prevalence.
  2. Demonstrate increased understanding of the impact that IPV exposure has in terms of physiology, psychology, and behavior for caregivers and young children.
  3. Explain one of the typology theories that describes categories and underlying dynamics of abusive partners.
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