This book presents an innovative approach to navigating the painful confusions and dilemmas experienced by families in which incest has occurred. The authors show that while not all incestuously abused children experience the classic diagnostic symptoms of trauma, virtually all do experience "relational trauma" disruptions in the sense of safety, security, loyalty, and trust that may block connection and open communication with nonoffending family members. Integrating social constructionist, feminist, and systems thinking, the treatment model focuses on strengthening the child's protective relationships, mobilizing the family to help resolve the child's emotional and behavioral symptoms, and building the family's resiliency. Through rich, annotated cases, the book illustrates how to engage family members as full collaborators in treatment, thereby restoring their sense of control. The therapist is guided in conducting individual and conjoint sessions not only with nonoffending family members, but also with the offending family member. Key clinical challenges and decision points are highlighted, and ways to resolve them effectively are described.
Included are detailed recommendations on when, how, and why to involve the offending member in sessions with the child.
"This extraordinary book is a 'must read' for anyone who works with children and their families. In lively, clear, and highly readable prose, Sheinberg and Fraenkel provide a new model for a much needed integration of the child and family therapy modalities. Though they are working with the most complex and challenging cases--intrafamily child abuse--their methods and thinking are applicable to virtually all symptomatic and emotionally troubled children. The book is filled with a plethora of practical and highly creative methods for mobilizing the strengths of families and children and helping youngsters develop a more positive sense of self. It is a book you will find yourself referring to again and again." --Ellen F. Wachtel, JD, PhD, author of Treating Troubled Children and Their Families "Sheinberg and Fraenkel have produced a landmark volume that is clinically profound, morally complex, and organizationally elegant. It is a measure of their mastery that one feels deeply, not only for these preyed-upon children and their torn-apart mothers, but also for the offenders who must come to terms with what they have wrought. I know this work well, yet I am always moved and freshly educated by it. This book will become an instant classic for clinicians, researchers, activists, and policymakers." --Virginia Goldner, PhD, editor, Studies in Gender and Sexuality, Senior Faculty, Ackerman Institute for the Family
"This wonderful book, so rich in innovative concepts and clinical techniques, brings a totally novel perspective to one of our most challenging clinical problems. It is hard to resist the temptation to reduce this highly emotional issue to simple black-and-white terms of children who need to be protected and adults who need to be punished. Sheinberg and Fraenkel counsel us instead to view childhood sexual abuse first and foremost as a family drama, to allow ourselves to listen to everyone's story and perspective in as nonjudgmental a way as possible, and to help families find a pathway through this crisis that provides not only a safe haven for the children involved, but also a sense of dignity for the family as a whole. A triumph of thoughtfulness and wisdom over emotionalism and polemics, this book is a gift to our field and, by extension, to every family who has had to struggle with this issue in their lives." --Peter Steinglass, MD, Executive Director, Ackerman Institute for the Family; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Cornell University Medical College
"The high prevalence of sexual abuse of children in families is now generally recognized. But what can be done to address the aftermath of incest, once it has been detected? This significant book brings into focus the relational trauma of sexual abuse, foregrounding the complexities that regularly confront family members and professionals. The many associated treatment dilemmas are acknowledged, and numerous maps are provided for resolving them. Including clearly illustrated, richly told accounts of effective clinical work, this book succeeds in expanding the range of compassionate options available to therapists and child protection workers. It is simply not to be missed." --Michael White, BASW, Dulwich Centre, Australia
"As I read this terrific book, I was continuously reminded that the impact of sexual abuse is affected by both the reality and the perception of family relationships, that the entire family bears the burden of incest, and that rebuilding family relationships is the best path for healing and recovery. Sheinberg and Fraenkel are to be congratulated for their noteworthy contribution to the child sexual abuse literature. The reader will find a wealth of insights and practical suggestions that will be helpful in everyday clinical practice." --Anthony Mannarino, PhD, Director, Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents, Allegheny General Hospital .,."a wonderful place for anyone to start their own exploration of the problem of incest....The book is well organized and clearly written....The carefulness of the therapists in this approach as well as the sense of genuine humility the authors bring to their work makes the book a very appealing accompaniment to clinical teaching and practice. It deserves a wide readership."--"The Canadian Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Review"
"I felt excited and invigorated reading "The Relational Trauma of Incest,."..I thoroughly enjoyed reading every chapter of this book. As I read it, I was inspired, touched and reminded of why I do this work. "The Relational Trauma of Incest" is a compassionate, respectful and hopeful description of a therapy approach aimed at building on families' resiliency. The author's capacity to clarify theory, weave gender and culture throughout, describe the process of therapy, explain clinical techniques and add clear clinical examples is outstanding....This book provides valuable insights and tools for family therapists, social workers, child psychologists and psychiatrists, and other frontline workers working with families. In fact, I would put it up there as a 'must read' for anyone who works with children and their families."--"Journal of Feminist Family Therapy"
.,."a book that will inspire therapists working with survivors of incest and their families. The book provides a palette of interventions within an integrative theoretical approach for therapists who work with families traumatized by the impact of child sexual abuse. The integration of social constructionism, feminist, and systemic ideas will provide clinical psychology, family therapy, social work, and other graduate students with a terrific template to distinguish various approaches while applying them in the highly intense and emotionally charged cases of incest....I strongly recommend this book as a template to design family focused interventions in the case of incest. Besides the integration of well developed clinical theories, the authors offer several tools that clinicians will find useful not only in the case of child sexual abuse but also in domestic violence and/or addiction cases, as well as other clinical situations in which the intersections of power, gender, and other identity markers are evident. These collaborative techniques are also relevant in all cases that require a careful planning of the conversations to ensure the safety of the family members."--"Journal of Trauma Practice"
"There are many strengths in this book. Clinicians will find a variety of examples and case illustrations. The advice presented is practical and useful. Researchers will also be intrigued by this approach, and I suspect that some will find it paradigm-breaking in terms of understanding the short and long-term effects of child sexual abuse...."The Relational Trauma of Incest" has much to offer the field. For those of us who have been around a long time, it brings us back to a fundamental principle--that it is relationships that count. For people new to the sexual abuse field, it will serve as a great primer. By following the authors' advice when the victims are children, readers may be able to head off some of the relationship difficulties adult survivors often face. Everyone will benefit from reading this compassionate book."--"Contemporary Psychology"
"The book's major strengths, however, are revealed in the presentation of the interrelational approach 'in action.' In its analysis of the challenging dilemmas that professionals face concerning child protection versus family expression of complex feelings, this work guides practitioners through the tricky choices of child sexual abuse therapy. A straightforward writing style and, more importantly, many case vignettes (plus three full-length case descriptions) contribute to an insightful text."--"Readings"
"There is an appropriate focus of therapy, in this book, on the molested child(ren) in the family. The authors capably capture the experience of children during and after molestation....the entire book is intelligently, thoroughly, and creatively expressed. Nothing is missing. This book is clearly worth reading. Experienced clinicians will benefit from the sophistication of Sheinberg and Fraenkel's multitheoretical model." --"AFTA Newsletter"