Abortion Counseling: A Clinician's Guide to Psychology, Legislation, Politics, and Competency

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Springer Publishing Company, Aug 10, 2007 - Psychology - 272 pages
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The majority of women who have had abortions report feeling happy, satisfied, and relieved following their abortion. Some few women who have had an abortion may experience some feelings of guilt and sadness; however, this rarely lasts longer than a few days. Those very few women who present with prolonged feelings of sadness and mental health problems are women who have either had these problems prior to their abortion, had other risk factors, or were influenced by frightening demonstrations and inaccurate biased information provided prior to the abortion. Through this book the authors hope to train general therapists and counselors in pre- and post-abortion counseling techniques--to avoid women experiencing unnecessary psychological problems created by those who insist that the non-existent "post-abortion syndrome" exists.

"Abortion counseling has a critical role to play in ensuring women's mental health is the priority and not the goals of a political agenda. Thus, Needle and Walker have taken on a complex, profound and essential task -- equipping therapists and abortion counselors with the knowledge and skills needed to help their clients -- and they have done it wellÖ.Readers of this book should [gain] an increased understanding of how women's diverse life circumstances affect their ability to cope with the difficult decisions and circumstances surrounding abortion. They will also be better able to build women's resilience and coping skills by having considered them both in the context of women's lives (e.g., coping resources, social support, partner violence, incidence of depression), and in the context of socio-political agendas that seek to manipulate women's mental health in order to undermine women's reproductive rights....In the final analysis, it is important to remember that abortion counseling is not about abortion - it is about women confronting the decision to bear a child - with all of the profound and life changing commitments and responsibilities that entails."
-- From the Foreword by Nancy Felipe Russo, PhD, Regents Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University


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1 Perspectives for the Mental Health Professional
2 The Impact of Abortion Politics on Therapists
3 Assessing Competency and DecisionMaking Skills of the Client
4 Facts Not Myths About Womens Reproductive Health
5 Gauging Your Clients Emotional Regulation and Good Decision Making
6 Is There a PostAbortion Syndrome?
7 A Model Program for PostAbortion Counseling
8 Impact of the Abortion Debate on Clinic Workers
9 Summary and Conclusions
Appendix 1 PreAbortion Needs Assessment
Appendix 2 Legislative Summaries for the United States

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About the author (2007)

Lenore E. A. Walker, EdD, is a Professor at Nova Southeastern University Center for Psychological Studies and Coordinator of the Clinical Forensic Psychology Concentration for doctoral students training to be clinical psychologists. She is also in the Independent Practice of Forensic Psychology and is Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Institute with affiliate centers around the world. Dr. Walker specializes in work with victims of interpersonal violence particularly battered women & abused children. Her expert witness testimony opposed to the numerous challenges to Roe v Wade dealing with notification or consent laws helped established judicial by-pass procedures, especially needed when teens come from homes where there is domestic violence.

Walker earned her undergraduate degree in 1962 from CUNY Hunter College, her Masters of Science in 1967 from CUNY City College and her EdD in psychology from Rutgers, the State University in NJ. In 2004 she received a Post Doctoral Masters Degree in Clinical Psychopharmacology at NSU. She has worked on high publicity cases such as with battered women who kill their abusive partners in self defense and testifies on behalf of protective mothers who are being challenged for custody by abusive dads. She lectures and does training workshops all over the world about prevention, psychotherapy, legal cases, and public policy initiatives for abused women and children. Dr. Walker has authored numerous professional articles and 15 books including "The Battered Woman" (1979), "The Battered Woman Syndrome" (1984, second edition 2000, Springer Publishing Company), "Terrifying Love: Why Battered Women Kill & How Society Responds" (1989), "Abused Women & Survivor Therapy" (1994) and co-author with David Shapiro of "Introduction to Forensic Psychology" (2004) and with William Dorfman of "A First Responders Guide to Abnormal Psychology" (2007).

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