Watch an excerpt from PsychAlive’s exclusive interview with Dr. James Garbarino.
Dr. James Garbarino talks about his motivations for writing the book, The Psychologically Battered Child.
Dr. James Garbarino: I can give you two versions of how The Psychologically Battered Child came into existence. One is the version that I was aware of at the time which is that I had sort of taken on this issue of child abuse and was trying to deal with all of its various manifestations. And I was very drawn to the idea that the social and psychological and emotional and psychic realities of the child were really trumped or triumphed, really, over the physical realities. So physical abuse was important, but the real issue was the emotional significance of the child, the rejection and all those sorts of things. I was naturally drawn to that and began to write about that and think about that. That’s version #1.
Version #2 is that my mother was a very psychologically abusive person and it’s not something that I realized until much later in my life. But I think even at that point, I was struggling with trying to make my peace with my own experience and my professional life. So it’s a very different answer now than it would have been when I wrote the book.
About the Author
James Garbarino, Ph.D.
James Garbarino is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Cornell University and at Loyola University Chicago. From 2006-2020, he held the Maude C. Clarke Chair in Humanistic Psychology and was founding Director of the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago. From 1995-2006, he was Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Development and Co-Director of the Family Life Development Center at Cornell University.
He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Garbarino has served as consultant or advisor to a wide range of organizations, including the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, the National Institute for Mental Health, the American Medical Association, the National Black Child Development Institute, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, and the FBI.
Among the books he has authored or edited are: Listening to Killers: Lessons Learned from My 20 Years as a Psychological Expert Witness in Murder Cases (2015), Miller’s Children: Why Giving Teenage Killers a Second Chance Matters for All of Us (2018), Children and the Dark Side of Human Experience (2008), See Jane Hit: Why Girls Are Growing More Violent and What We Can Do About It (2006). And Words Can Hurt Forever: How to Protect Adolescents from Bullying, Harassment, and Emotional Violence (2002); Parents Under Siege: Why You Are the Solution, Not the Problem, in Your Child’s Life (2001); Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them (1999.
Dr. Garbarino has won many awards from his work in the fields of trauma and abuse. He serves as a consultant for media reports on children and families. Since 1994, he has served as a scientific expert witness in criminal cases involving issues of violence and children.
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