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RCASA Saturday with Case Management: The Promise for Trauma-focused Therapy for Childhood Sexual Abuse

In Case Management, Sexual Assault Awareness on April 28, 2012 at 5:00 am

The Promise of Trauma-focused Therapy for Childhood Sexual Abuse was developed to provide information about the impact of child sexual abuse, to  emphasize the importance of including parents/caretakers in treatment, and to  highlight the need for children in therapy to learn specific skills to deal with  what has happened to them and to talk about the details of their sexually  abusive experiences.

This video is targeted primarily to individuals who refer sexually abused  children to therapists. It is also useful for parents and caretakers of sexually  abused children and therapists who treat sexually abused children.

Trauma-focused Therapy for Childhood Sexual Abuse: Talking Points

  1. Childhood sexual abuse is all too common. One in four girls and one in seven  boys experience sexual abuse during childhood. Child sexual abuse crosses  ethnic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic boundaries. It happens to children  in every kind of family, neighborhood, and community.
  2. Many children keep sexual abuse a secret, sometimes until they become  adults. Some children never tell. There are many reasons children do not tell  about sexual abuse, or do not tell right away. Children may be afraid they will  be blamed for the abuse, or that they will not be believed. Some children care  about or have loving feelings for the abuser and do not want him or her to be  punished even though they want the sexual abuse to stop. Other children have  been threatened that something terrible will happen if they tell. It takes much  courage to disclose sexual abuse.
  3. It may be frightening or difficult for many children when they begin to  disclose the sexual abuse. Children may disclose only a little bit at a time,  their stories may change, or they may take back (“recant”) what they previously  said happened during the abuse. Some children may even deny that the abuse has  occurred at all. This is not unusual and may be confusing and frustrating for  parents and caregivers. Children may be given a special type of exam to  determine whether sexual abuse is likely to have occurred. This is called a  “forensic exam.”
  4. It is normal for parents and caregivers of children who disclose sexual  abuse to feel very upset, angry, or guilty or even want not to believe that the  abuse has happened. However, one of the best predictors that a sexually abused  child will recover is the presence of a supportive parent or caregiver. As such,  it is important to work to express support regardless of your other thoughts or  feelings.
  5. There is hope for children who have experienced sexual abuse. With the right  kind of help, children can recover completely and live normal and happy lives.
  6. Trauma-focused therapy is the best kind of treatment for children who have  experienced sexual abuse. Trauma-focused therapy includes these elements:a. Building skills at the start of treatment, which will help a child deal  with difficult feelings and cope with stress. The child can then use these  skills for rest of his or her life to manage stressful experiences and  situations.b. Involving the parent or caregiver in the treatment process.c. Encouraging the child to talk directly about the sexual abuse by  developing a trauma narrative.
  7. To find out more about organizations in your area that may be part of the National  Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) and that may provide trauma-focused  therapy for childhood sexual abuse, go to “Finding Help”. If there are no NCTSN organizations in your  area, it may be useful to ask providers the following questions to determine if  they offer trauma-focused therapy:

a. Do you have experience in treating sexually abused children and their  families?

b. Do you offer treatments for sexually abused children that have been  studied and have been demonstrated to be effective?

c. Are you familiar with and have you used trauma-focused therapy with  sexually abused children?

For more information please visit: http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/sexual-abuse#q5

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