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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148635 Find in a Library
Journal: Child Welfare  Volume:73  Issue:2  Dated:(March-April 1994)  Pages:141-154
Author(s): M DeYoung; B A Corbin
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 14
Type: Training (Aid/Material)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the telling of the personal stories of sexual abuse within the context of trauma-focused group therapy for early adolescent girls.
Abstract: For children who have learned through sexual abuse that their trust can be violated, their power contravened, and their voices silenced, individual therapy may not be perceived by them as the safest and most therapeutic context in which to talk about their experiences. Group therapy counters these drawbacks and provides a context conducive to the telling of the children's experiences. In group therapy emotional needs can be met without the frequent emotional intensity of individual therapy. Group therapy's emphasis on egalitarian relationships and interactions contrasts with the asymmetry of power in individual therapy. Because of the sensitive nature of the discussions, the group should have no more than six children of the same gender, ages 11 to 14 years old, all of whom have had a confirmed history of intrafamilial sexual abuse. The group should be facilitated by two experienced therapists. Introductory and ice-breaking exercises familiarize the children with each other and with the therapists, reduce some of the initial anxiety, and contribute to the building of trust. Telling the story of the sexual abuse in group therapy is the first step, but the action of telling the story must be accompanied with the feelings, thoughts, images, and sensations of the experience. A useful instrument that facilitates telling the story of the abuse is a written guided exercise to be completed by each group member. Each girl shares with the group what she has written. Those who use the guided exercise tend to share more details about their abuse experiences, as well as their feelings, thoughts, and needs, than do those who do not use the exercise. The exercise also structures the feedback and the questions from group members. 22 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse; Group therapy; Incest treatment; Juveniles; Sexually abused adolescents
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