Children with Sexual Behavior Issues

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Many people don't know what to do when children behave in sexual ways. This slideshow provides important information.

Many people don't know what to do when children behave in sexual ways. This slideshow provides important information.

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  • 1. Childhood Sexuality & Children’s Sexual Behavior Issues Jane F. Gilgun, PhD, LICSW School of Social Work University of Minnesota, Twin Cities jgilgun@umn.edu October 30, 2004
  • 2. Topics • Sexual Development of Children • Typologies of Children with Sexual Behavior Issues • Family Issues Related to Children’s Sexual Behaviors
  • 3. Children’s Sexual Behaviors • Begin in womb • Continue over the life course
  • 4. Children’s Sexual Behaviors • Sex in the US culture –Taboo –Fascinating
  • 5. Children’s Sexual Behaviors • Sex in US culture –Taboo –Fascinating –Linked to violence –Rarely life-enhancing
  • 6. A Continuum of Child Sexual Behaviors • Developmentally Appropriate • Inappropriate but Easily Correctable • Inappropriate and Problematic –Origin not known –Abuse-reactive • Sexually manipulative • Sexually abusive
  • 7. Johnson’s Clinical Typology of Child Sexual Behaviors • Natural and Healthy • Of Concern • Seek Professional Help Source: Johnson, Toni Cavanagh (n.d.). Understanding children’s sexual behaviors: What’s natural and healthy. www.TCavJohn.com
  • 8. Johnson’s Clinical Continuum of Child Sexual Behaviors • Natural and healthy • Sexually reactive • Children who molest Source: Johnson, Toni Cavanagh (n.d.). Understanding children’s sexual behaviors: What’s natural and healthy. www.TCavJohn.com
  • 9. Johnson’s Clinical Continuum of Child Sexual Behaviors • Natural and healthy • Sexually reactive • Children who molest Source: Johnson, Toni Cavanagh (n.d.). Understanding children’s sexual behaviors: What’s natural and healthy. www.TCavJohn.com
  • 10. A Clinical Continuum of Sexualized Behaviors Normal Sexual Sexually Extensive Mutual Children Exploration Reactive Sexual Behaviors Who Molest Source: Gil & Johnson (1993)
  • 11. A General Guideline for Assessment • Assess child, family, and other ecologies – Identify risks – Identify protective processes
  • 12. A General Guideline for Assessment • Assess child, family, and other ecologies • Identify risks • Identify protective processes • How can treatment build on protective processes to manage risks?
  • 13. Assessment • Initial Considerations – What is being assessed? – Who does assessments? – Are assessments in different settings the same? – Sharing information so as to not duplicate and harm children and their families
  • 14. Information Needed from Multiple Sources • See Johnson (2004) assessment • Schroeder & Gordon (2004) • For Childhood Sexual Issues – Assessment must have a major component on development and course of the behaviors – Treatment must focus on sexual issues and other issues that directly affect the difficulties related to the sexual issues
  • 15. Children with Sexual Behavior Issues: Treatment • Psychoeducation and Group Treatment • Comprehensive Programs • Treatment Exercises • Indicators that Children are Learning to Manage Their Sexual Behaviors • Emotional Costs of Work with Families Where Children Have Sexual Behavior Issues
  • 16. Comprehensive Programs • Individual treatment – With parental involvement • Peer group – With parental involvement • Family Therapy • Couples Therapy • Case Management • Multiple Family Groups • Psychoeducation throughout
  • 17. Family Therapy – Can do assessment of family dynamics – Can teach family new ways of interacting • Direct instruction • Practice • By their observation of you
  • 18. Family Therapy • Kids can’t do what parents can’t do. – Mother: • You told me Daddy was touching you sexually. I thought you were imagining it. I was wrong. I’m so sorry.
  • 19. Some Treatment Exercises for Children’s Psychoeducation • Anger pyramid. • Feelings charades. • Collages. • Empathy letters. • Apology letters. • Reconciliation sessions.
  • 20. Indicators that Children are Learning to Manage Their Sexual Behaviors • Children show assertiveness. • Previous taboo topics are on the table. • Children can ask questions that they were too ashamed to ask in the past. • Children tell on themselves. • Humor
  • 21. Indicators that Children are Learning to Manage Their Sexual Behaviors • Signs of attachment to others • Affect becomes more animated. • Emotions and cognitions are connected. • Takes responsibility for their behaviors • Empathy for victims. • Parents set limits.
  • 22. Some Therapeutic Issues • Importance of “Neutrality” – What does the term mean? • Lot of case management • Need for on-going consultation
  • 23. Some Therapeutic Issues • We’re good at soothing and comforting • How much training do we have in dealing with clients who – sexualize us? – manipulate us? – trigger anger, fear, dread in us?
  • 24. Self-Reflection • Memories related to sexuality – Early – Funny – Confusing – Evokes strong emotions • Who taught you the difference between sex as a way of “getting rocks off” and communicating intimacy • What are the multiple meanings of sexuality?
  • 25. Emotional Costs of Work with Families Where Children Have Issues Related to Sexual Abuse • Sometimes there is nothing you can do • You don’t know longer-term outcome • Own “soul wounds” are stirred up