Child sexual abuse: is the routine provision of psychotherapy warranted?

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This paper addresses the question: is the routine provision of psychotherapy for child sexual abuse warranted? It reviews the literature on the impact of child sexual abuse and that on the outcome of child and adolescent psychotherapy. It concludes that the routine provision of psychotherapy is not warranted and that child sexual abuse is an area exploited by many professionals for their own gain. A number of recommendations are made with respect to social workers dealing with this problem of exploitation. [...]

Conclusion: This paper addressed the question: is the routine provision of psychotherapy for child sexual abuse warranted? A review of the literature on the impact of child sexual abuse and on the outcome of child and adolescent psychotherapy indicates that it is not warranted. Moreover, it indicates that the asymptomatic should most definitely not be referred for psychotherapy. Child sexual abuse has become an arena for opportunistic therapists to exploit and revictimize victims of child sexual abuse. It is time to heed and respond to the earlier warning of Browne and Finkelhor (1986). They warned that "advocates not exaggerate or overstate the intensity or inevitability of these consequences" because "victims and their families ... may be further victimized by exaggerated claims about the effects of sexual abuse" (p. 178). Indeed, it is time that, as recommended by Seligman, parents of sexually abused children were encouraged "to turn down the volume" lest they create or aggravate a negative reaction to the abuse.

source: Scientific article 'Child Sexual Abuse: Is the Routine Provision of Psychotherapy Warranted?' by Thomas D. Oellerich, Ph.D., ACSW, LISW, DAPA; www.ipt-forensics.com/journal/volume11/j11_1_3.htm; IPT Journal Volume 11; 2001