Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Lance Peterson

Abstract

Victims of childhood sexual abuse can develop mental illness or maladaptive behaviors due to the traumatization. Although individual, group, and family psychotherapy are offered to victims of intrafamilial sexual abuse, few approaches include sessions where rebuilding a relationship between the perpetrator and the victim is emphasized. Given the importance of approaches to include the perpetrator, the focus of this qualitative research is to gain an understanding of how a clinician can help intrafamilial child sexual abuse victims rebuild and heal the relationship with their perpetrators. Individual, family, and group therapy are ways of delivering therapeutic services. Within these sessions, clinicians utilize a variety of approaches, techniques, and conceptual frameworks to guide their interventions. This study found that the child victim of intrafamilial sexual abuse must want to rebuild the relationship with his/her perpetrator, and that there is no identified preferred therapeutic approach in order to accomplish this task. This study also established the importance of individualized therapy sessions for the victim prior to therapy involving the perpetrator. For social workers, this study is imperative due to the fact that the child may remain in contact with his/her perpetrator following allegations of intrafamilial sexual abuse.

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