Witness to Violence: The Child Interview


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218 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present a widely applicable technique of interviewing the traumatized child who has recently witnessed an extreme act of violence. This technique has been used with over 200 children in a variety of clinical settings including homicide, suicide, rape, aggravated assault, accidental death, kidnapping, school and community violence. The easily learned, three-stage aproach allows for proper exploration, support and closure within a 90-minute inital interview. The format proceeds from a projective drawing and story telling, to discussion of the actual traumatic situation and the perceptual impact, to issues centered on the aftermath and its consequences for the child. Our interview format is conceptualized as an acute consultation service available to assist the child, the child's family, and larger social network in functioning more effectively following the child's psychic trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-319
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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