College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Integration of Family and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Treating Sexually Abused Children

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2000

Publication Title

Cognitive and Behavioral Practice

ISSN

1077-7229

Volume

7

Issue/No.

3

Abstract

This paper demonstrates the application and integration of family systems therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of symptomatic children with histories of sexual abuse. This is achieved via the case of Ryan, a 12-year-old boy who had been sexually abused by two family members and who was experiencing affective/anxiety symptoms and acting-out behavior problems. While this paper provides a theoretical rationale and comprehensive treatment plan, additional details of specific treatment interventions, from both treatment modalities, are delineated. From the family systems perspective, an emphasis is placed upon the discussion of realignment of family structure and changing familial communication patterns (including messages about safety, protection, and validation of children's experiences). From the cognitive behavioral paradigm, exposure therapy and cognitive restructuring are accentuated. Finally, the importance of the integration of both modalities without violating the theoretical assumptions of either is highlighted.

DOI

10.1016/S1077-7229(00)80097-8