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Principles of a Pscyhoeducation Program for Parents of Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused

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    Starting Where Clients AreWhen Clients are Children and

    their Families

    Jane F. Gilgun, PhD., LICSWUniversity of Minnesota, Twin Cities

    http://www.cehd.umn.edu/ssw/people/profiles/GilgunJ.asp

    For Family Service, Inc.

    St. Paul, MN

    April 7, 2003

    http://www.cehd.umn.edu/ssw/people/profiles/GilgunJ.asphttp://www.cehd.umn.edu/ssw/people/profiles/GilgunJ.asp
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    University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

    School of Social Work

    Some day

    maybe there will exist

    a well-informed,

    well-considered

    and yet fervent publicconviction,

    that the most deadly

    of all possible sinsis the mutilation

    of a child's spirit.

    Erik H. Erikson

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    Discussion Points

    Cognitive Science and Its Relevance

    to Psychoeducation

    Healthy Parent-Child Relationships

    Applications: Working with childrenand their families when children havebeen sexually abused

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    Cognitive Science Connects to social works starting where

    clients are

    Where are clients? Internal working models of self and others

    Schemas

    Choice: limited by the time in which persons live,the settings in which they develop, and the personsand ideologies to which they are exposed

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    Autonomy& Agency Self-determination not absolute

    Accommodation

    Mutuality

    Agency=Choice:limited by the time in which

    persons live, the settings in which they develop, andthe persons and ideologies to which they are exposed

    Role of Professionals: Coach, encourage, draw out

    clients capacities for choices

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    Characteristics of Healthy

    Parent-Child Relationships Sensitive responsiveness of care

    providers to childrens bids

    Mutuality according to capacities ofeach

    Provision of environments that foster

    healthy development Respect for childrens autonomy

    Gradual relinquishment of parental

    control

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    Sensitive Responsiveness is

    Essential Sensitivity to the child's bids Sensitive care providers are

    available and supportive

    emotionally available warm and responsive

    Responsiveness and Reciprocity

    reciprocal interaction

    positive mutuality reciprocal caring and affection

    with the adult aware of his/her power and differentialabilities

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    Responsivenessand

    Reciprocity responsiveness to the ever-changing

    demands of the maturing, individuatingchild

    child: compliance to requests of adults

    adult: gradual relinquishment of controlover the child

    sensitivity to and support for child's age-appropriate activities

    effective teachers--structuring tasks so thatchildren could learn how to do them

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    Responsiveness & Mutual

    Respect: Generational Differences

    Parents and other Care Providers: respect children's autonomy

    allow children to explore and attempt tasks without intrusion

    set firm, consistent limits without hostility

    provide a home with age-appropriate play materials

    flexible in their expectations

    accommodatetheir expectations to childrens capacities

    They adapt

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    Responsiveness & Mutual Respect:Professionals & Clients

    Professionals respect clients autonomy

    Create conditions where clients can explore and problem-solvewithout intrusion of professionals or other group members

    Create conditions where participants feels safe Create mutually agreed on ground rules including consequences for

    breaching the rules

    Enforce ground rules

    Provide guidance and materials that Build on what clients want to know

    Stimulate problem-solving

    Accommodation/flexibility regarding own expectations

    adapt to clients and what they want

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    Definitions of CSA child sexual abuse clearly is an abuse

    of power.

    An adult, or older person, or astronger person, takes advantage of

    a child

    a child can never give informedconsent

    because of age

    children are taught to obeyadults/older people

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    Definitions of CSA(Contd)

    children can never give informed consent because of age

    children are taught to obey adults/older peopleI thought there were laws about adults and children

    Because of size"He was big and I was little.

    I had to do what he said.

    Children are naturally responsive to adultattention

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    Children do not

    Understand Lack of understanding of the nature of

    the sexual behavior:

    A 13 year-old talking to a friend: "We were just talking one day. She was talking

    about her boyfriend. She thought she was big.She had sex with a 17 year-old. I said to her,

    'That's nothing. I go to bed with a 34 year-old.' She said, 'You do? Who is he?' I said, "Myfather.'

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    Abuse of Power Clear lack of reciprocity and not

    understanding:

    A 13 year-old said she thought her greatuncle was trying to love her: When askedwhen she thought of that, she said:

    "It felt kind of weird. I didn't like him the wayI liked boys."

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    Some Meanings to

    Perpetrators

    For perpetrators, child sexual abuse is anintense, highly erotic, highly gratifying sexual

    pleasure "I remember that high, and, boy, I wanted it. I

    wanted it.

    About fellatio by a child:

    "It would feel like being on top of the world. Up untilnow there's no greater feeling that I can experience thanhaving somebody perform oral sex on me. That is myultimate feeling."

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    Many Possible Affects onChildren Betrayal of Trust Traumatic Sexualization Stigmatization--Shame--can be linked to

    many other things Anger Powerlessness Grief & Loss--often experienced as anger--

    internalized & externalized I'll never treat anyone like this Confusion Feeling special

    Anything else?

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    Resilience: The End Pointof Interventions

    Capacities to cope with, adapt to, andovercome risks

    Internalized capacities to maintain ansense of personal integration and a

    sense of competence when confrontedwith adversities

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    Resilience: The Concept ofRepair

    Resilience

    adversities, breakdown, repair

    Similar to rhythms of relationships

    Mutuality, breakdown, repair

    Mutual regulation from infancy to old age

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    Applications

    Work with parents/Work with children Trust

    Between children/parents and professionals

    Among child/parent participants

    Content that builds on and extends what theyknow and want to know

    Family work Children show & tell

    Small multiple family groups

    Family therapy

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    Applications to Workwith Parents

    Cognitive Science

    Stimulus stories for parents

    Draw on their capacities to think, reason, andmake their own decisions

    Scenarios on possible responses

    Practice sensitive responsiveness Specific materials parents want to use

    Opportunities to practice using these materials

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    Applications to Workwith Parents

    When Parents Have Working Knowledge ofMain Points of Program

    Use video taping Parents practice the various scenarios that

    are part of the education program

    Review the video tape Ask a lot of wondering questions:

    I wonder what you were thinking

    I wonder how that fits with.

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    Applications to Workwith Children

    Cognitive Science

    What are childrens levels of cognitive and

    emotional development?

    What strategies connect with where

    children are? Concrete

    Experiential

    Direct

    What else?

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    Applications to Workwith Children(contd)

    Group/pair work

    Clarity about reasons for the group work

    May involve preparation through individual & family work Thoughtful inclusion of group members who are

    prepared for group work

    Sufficient number of professionals

    Fun, concrete, brief exercises, simple recognitionfor work well done, encourage children to give thisrecognition to each other

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    Applications to Workwith Children(contd)

    What kinds of exercises? Flash cards Emotion charts Reading books together Boundary setting exercise Hand drawing exercise What else?

    Purpose? Repair Promotion of capacities for mutuality with adults

    and generational equals (peers & siblings)

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    Applications to Workwith Children(contd)

    Parental involvement essential To develop similar language and understandings

    Requires covering similar ground Can invite parents in at end of childrens group to let

    children show parents what theyve learned

    Small multiple family groups

    Family therapy

    Parental capacities for responding to children requires parents to do personal work

    Parental willingness to engage with thepsychoeducation may require encouragement

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    Cognitive Science

    When change occurs, schemas aretransformed

    Not assimilation of new ideas andbehaviors

    but accommodation of new ideas and

    behaviorsAt new developmental stages, children

    and families may require tune ups

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    Appendix

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    What we want

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    Many Kinds of Violence

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    Childrens Understandings

    I thought there were laws about adultsand children.

    He did it until white stuff came out.

    "It felt kind of weird. I didn't like himthe way I liked boys."

    "Sometimes it felt good, but that mademe feel guilty.

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    Perpetrators Threats

    "You'll get into trouble and so will I.

    "If you tell, I'll go to jail. That willmake my wife unhappy. You don't wantto make my wife unhappy, do you?"

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    Some Key Phrases

    The perpetrator took advantage of you.

    Its OK to love and hate someone who hurtyou.

    Child: He put his thing in my craphole.

    Professional: He put his thing in yourcraphole.


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