PS251, Lec 4, Ex. 3: 10/30/2013
Treatment of chronic sexual abuse survivors:
These children have underlying needs, need a connection with another person for corrective emotional
experience. Internally the child is both the victim and the aggressor and you have to integrate both sides.
Their dark side is a part of them, that’s how they survive. Connect affect and … back together. Get a
person to be on a level where they can take care of themselves.
• Therapist must offer a certain measure of genuine gratification in the relationship
• Perhaps for the first time in his/her life, the abused child may experience a human being who gives
friendly understanding instead of criticism/punishment
• Understand that internally, the abused child is both the victim & the aggressor
• Must integrate the good and the “bad” self because the “bad” side is very much a part of who the child
• Both sides must be therapized (integration)
• Safe & containing
Long Term Treatment Process:
Child has to learn how to develop trust, once this happens, eventually, the kids can start sharing their
feelings with another person, the therapist. Long term. Need a mindset to respect the child.
1. Share experiences with a sympathetic & comforting person
2. Therapist articulate experiences which child recorded but could not organize (i.e. label feeling & give
descriptions of events which provides a means of verbal expression & management of memories).
Need to make sense of the experiences that didn’t make sense for the child. Put accountability where it
belongs. It’s not their fault.
3. Prevention of vulnerability without identification with aggressor
4. Identify real relational needs (longing for love, care, & affection) which lie beneath
aggressive/sexualized modes of obtaining object contact.
• Do more than simply allowing or containing violent play
• Therapist must be actively engaged & interpreting. Can’t just be a blank screen, or emotionally neutral.
Have to be a witness, have to be present.
• Cannot be neutral (blank screen) – would amount to abandoning the child to reexperience
disintegrating feelings & memories by themselves (i.e. replays being alone & experiencing trauma
alone) – limits of Rogerian “