Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 39–48 | Cite as

Loosening the Soil of Their Thinking: A Theoretical Integration for Contracting with Low-Income Single Mothers to Stop Physical Aggression Toward Their Children



Clinical social work with low-income single mothers at-risk for physical abuse of their children traverses multiple theoretical perspectives for viewing causality and intervention in order to prevent future abuse. Cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic approaches have figured prominently in the discourse but are often considered as opposing viewpoints. In this paper, narrative excerpts from a study about social workers’ experiences in developing working alliances with these women are used to suggest an integrative theoretical viewpoint for contracting with them to refrain from hitting their children.


Single mothers Physical child abuse Cognitive-behavioral Psychodynamic Self psychology Empathy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hunter College School of Social WorkNew YorkUSA

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