Sexual abuse has the potential to cripple its victims emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Children who are sexually abused often proceed into adulthood with problems relating to the abuse. Understanding their problems, require the use of sympathetic understanding, knowledge, and counselor competence of applicable therapeutic interventions that would bring about total lifestyle changes.
Sexual abuse of children is a devastating problem in the United States and other countries. It affects encompasses all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds (Finkelhor, 1979). Childhood sexual abuse has been linked to poor social adjustment and general relationship problems (Dilillo, 2001). In adulthood, problems are usually manifested in negative intimate relationship outcomes, which include decreased satisfaction in romantic relationships, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault in adulthood.
Women who have experienced child sexual abuse, demonstrate a greater prevalence of risky sexual behaviors, and are more likely to be physically and sexually aggressive themselves (Finkelhor, 1979). With the above stated, previous research has found that cognitive distortions may impair their ability to trust others, which normally leads the victims in a state of ambivalence about interpersonal closeness and a heightened fear of abandonment.
In working with this population, the helping professional must adhere to the strict codes of the American Counseling Association. Prior to working with individuals who have issues with sexual abuse, counselor must explain to the client the nature of all services that are to be provided. He or she must inform the client about issues such as, but not limited to goals, techniques, procedures, limitations, potential risks, and benefits of services, counselors qualifications, credentials, and relevant experience working with said population (APA, 2005).
Finkelhor, D. (1979). What’s wrong with Sex between Adults and Children? American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.
Finkelhor explores why sex with children is ethnically and morally wrong. He addresses how children cannot properly consent to sexual activity with adults.
A. Five Categories of Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome Summit, R. (1983). Child Sexual abuse Accommodation Syndrome. A diagnostic tool.
Summit provides an overview of the accommodation Syndrome sometimes called the “hush syndrome”, which is often exhibited by victims of sexual abuse.
B. Causes of Emotional Stress in Relationships
Kallstrom-Fuqua, A., C., Weston, R., Marshall, L., L. (2004). Childhood and Adolescent sexual abuse of community Women: Mediated effects on Psychological distress and Social relationships. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
Kallstrom-Fuqua, Weston, and Marshall described factors that mediate the effects of child sexual abuse on later life relationships and psychological distress. The article also addresses the primary theme of betrayal in Finkelhor and Browne’s (1985) model, of how the loss of an open and trusting approach to others.
II. Examining the Blame effect of abuse Victims
Kubany, E., S., Hayes, S., N., Abueg, F., S., Manke, F., P., Brennan, J., M., & Stahura, C. (1996). Development and Validation of the Trauma-Related Guilt Inventory. Psychological Assessment.
Kubany, Hayes, Abueg, Manke, Brennan, & Stahura provide an in depth analysis of how Survivors of traumatic events experience quilt that relates to their trauma. The authors viewed six dimensions thought to encompass principal aspects of trauma-related guilt.
A. Overcoming threatening or dangerous feelings. Banyard, V., L., & Graham-Bermann, S., A. (1993). Can Women Cope? A Gender Analysis of theories of coping with stress. Psychology of Women Quarterly.
Banyard and Graham examine strategies developed by children that keep them from becoming overwhelmed with feelings of grief, pain, and rage.
B. Human developmental stages and victim coping Erikson, E. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
Erikson elaborates on children who deal with horrendous circumstances may be unable to negotiate stages as easily as someone who did not have grave challenges in life.
Wang, Yu-Wei. (2011). A qualitative study of childhood sexual abuse survivors in Taiwan: Toward A transactional and ecological Model of coping. Journal of Counseling Psychology.
Wang addresses how sexual abuse survivors cope within daily life. He evaluates coping mechanisms used within different ethnic groups.
III. Triggers that can cause one to sexually abuse
Worling, J., R. (1995). Sexual abuse histories of adolescent male sex offenders: Difference on the basis of the age and gender of their victims. Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
Worling addresses how many adolescent offenders were sexually abused as children. They in return, exhibit sexual offending behaviors from early victimization.
A. Combating revictimization
Noll, J., G., Gyrch, J., H. (2011). Read-react-respond: An Integrative Model for Understanding Sexual revictimization. Psychology of Violence.
Noll and Gyrch address how victims are of great risk for revictimization through sexual assaults. He also provides information that would help victims recognize imminent threats of sexual coercion.
IV. Treatment Modalities that promote healing
Harris, G., E., Cross, J., C., Vincent, J., P., Mikalsen, E., & Dominguez, R., Z. (2001). Giving kids a chance: Helping victimized children and their families. A National Institute of Justice.
The article evaluates psychotherapy as a valid treatment modality for sexual abuse Victims and their families.
DeLuca, R., V., Boyes, D., A., Furer, P., Grayston, A., D., Hiebert-Murphy, D. (1992). Group treatment for child sexual abuse. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne.
This article explains how group therapy has potential value in treating victims of sexual abuse. It also explains that group therapy is not a cure all and many victims will require individual therapy.
Greenberg, L., J., Warwar, S., H., & Malcolm, W., M. (2008). Differential effect of Emotion-focused therapy and psycho-education in facilitating forgiveness and letting go of emotional injuries. Journal of Counseling psychology.
Grenberg, Warwar, and Malcolm address how forgiveness of a perpetrator has a profound effect in a sexual abuse and domestic violence victim’s life.
A. Perpetrators and treatment
Ward, T. (2003). The treatment of sex offenders: Risk management and Good lives. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.
Ward examines the differences between the risk-need model and the good lives model.
Beggs, S., M., Grace, R., C. (2011). Treatment gain for sexual offenders Against children predicts reduced recidivism: a comparative validity study.
Beggs and Grace provide evidence that shows specific gains have been made in treatment that correlates with a reduction in risk for sexual recidivism.
V. Counselor competence
Pope, K., S. (1992). National survey of Psychologist’s sexual and physical abuse history and their evaluation of training and competence in these areas. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.
Pope addresses how counselor competence is of great concern when working with victims of sexual abuse. The adherence to APA guidelines on competence is proper protocol when working with this population.
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