"It is refreshing to find child therapists ready to engage with sexually abused children by incorporating trauma theory and research, addressing child protection and seeing themselves as part of a team that includes the carers. The authors provide an overview of phases of treatment, theoretical considerations and essential skills. They emphasis the importance of relationship and explore its impact on the therapist. Their approach is creative and child-centered. Case vignettes, poems and exercises promote empathy with the child's perspective. There is a useful chapter on cultural issues and the needs of children in alternative care.... this is an excellent primer for the child's helping network" - COMMUNITY CARE Therapeutic Work with Sexually Abused Children is a creative and practical guide for professionals working directly with those who have suffered sexual abuse and for their careers. The trauma of sexual abuse experienced in childhood can be severe and enduring. Therapeutic support is offered to help both the child and the family cope with psychological or emotional difficulties both currently and in later life. Therapists must be able to respond effectively to the child victim in a sensitive and timely way which prioritizes the needs of each child. Drawing on their experience as practitioners, the authors explore the reactions which children commonly experience following abuse and examine the tasks of the therapist in responding to them. The book covers: the theory, skills and process of therapeutic work children's coping and defense mechanisms career involvement professional issues Child sexual abuse is an issue which crosses professional boundaries and requires an integrated, inter-professional approach. Therapeutic Work with Sexually Abused Children will therefore be of interest to those undertaking specialist work or training in this area including social workers, psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists, and health and education professionals.    

The Therapist's Clinical Skills

The therapist's clinical skills

The nature and quality of the therapeutic relationship with the child has a profound influence on how successful the therapeutic work will be. The relationship with the therapist needs to be one in which the child feels safe, supported, respected, valued, and empowered, a relationship within which healing can begin.

This chapter describes the clinical skills and functions of the therapist, and many important elements of the process are examined including the following:

  • the acceptance and integration of the sexual abuse into the child's psyche;
  • boundaries and feelings of powerlessness;
  • empathy;
  • trust;
  • the holding environment;
  • education about abuse and normalization of symptoms;
  • the self-observing ego;
  • enjoyment of the child and engagement in play; and
  • sensitivity to danger of replicating the abusive relationship.

You never laugh at me

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