CSA & Christian Counseling considerations


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some considerations for therapy with Childhood Sexual Abuse clients

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CSA & Christian Counseling considerations

  1. 1. CSA and pre-counselling considerations By AA MacKenzie
  2. 2. Child Abuse Umbrella term for various forms of ill-treatment of children by caregivers. Five main forms: • • • • • Spiritual abuse Physical abuse Emotional/Psychological abuse Neglect Sexual abuse National Statistics: Approx. 107,000 national reports in 1999-2000 and 40-50% of reports confirmed child abuse cases.
  3. 3. Confirmed cases were: • 35% physical abuse • 29% neglect • 27% sexual abuse • 10% emotional abuse Aboriginal children have higher rates of both sexual abuse and neglect. National Child Protection Clearinghouse - AIFS
  4. 4. Spiritual abuse Psychology almost never recognises the spiritual basis of child development, but this was important to Biblical writers. • Psalm 78:1-8 emphasises that children should receive spiritual instruction so they will put their faith in God and not become stubborn or rebellious. • Scriptures clearly teach that Biblical education is beneficial to children; its absence is surely harmful.
  5. 5. Physical abuse • Non-accidental injury • Physical assault such as beatings, burnings, bruising, shaking • Inappropriate/excessive physical discipline Ephesians 4:31 says to “put away from you all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
  6. 6. Emotional/Psychological abuse • Instability in home ie: family pressures, domestic violence • Punished unrealistically, or not punished at all • Deprived of love, warmth and attention or shown love spasmodically • Humiliated persistently, criticised excessively verbal condemnation Colossians 3:11 says “fathers do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart.”
  7. 7. Neglect Failure to provide a level of care that meets a child’s physical and emotional needs: • Inadequate food/fluids, clothing, hygienic living conditions • Inadequate supervision, failure to ensure safety • Abandonment / desertion • Educational and/or medical neglect Psalms 27:10 says “Though my Father and Mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.”
  8. 8. Sexual Abuse • Includes exhibitionism, fondling of sex organs of a minor • Forced intercourse, rape, incest • The use of children in the sex industry Ephesians 5:3 says “...among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
  9. 9. Pre-Counselling Considerations Child Sexual Abuse VICTIMS
  10. 10. Considerations • 50% of victims do not remember the abuse until years after it has occurred. Usually something in adulthood will trigger the memory. • Victims hold a distorted belief that they are responsible for the abuse perpetrated against them. This results in feelings of extreme shame and self-blame. • Numerous studies have discussed a direct relationship between CSA and adolescent/adult prostitution -- 76 to 90 % of prostitutes have a history of CSA, the most common form being incest. L.W. Carson, “Child Sex Abuse” (1988)
  11. 11. Considerations • In Australia mandatory reporting requirements exist but vary by State (see handout). • Queensland doctors are required under the Health Act 1937 to report all cases of suspected “maltreatment”. • Queensland Education Policy requires school principals to report suspected child abuse cases to appropriate authorities. Teachers to report through principals (not legislated). • Privacy of Information Act prevails in counselling situations - up to counsellor & counselee whether to report Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (1999)
  12. 12. Long-Term Effects Latent Adult CSA VICTIM
  13. 13. Common responses in many survivors: Feelings of extremely low self-esteem or selfhatred --- extreme is self-mutilation. • Trust can be next to impossible under many circumstances. • Re-experience the sexual abuse as if it were occurring at that moment - “flashbacks”. • Frequent sleep disturbances and nightmares. • Alcoholism & drug abuse. • Suicide B.C. Ministry of Health, Child and Youth Mental Health Services, 1990
  14. 14. Common responses (continued): Frequently find themselves in abusive, dangerous situations or relationships as adults. • Continue to be abused by family, caregivers and professionals. • Repression and disassociation to escape the painful memories. • When the abuse is severe, `splitting' can become the only means of escape - multiple personalities. B.C. Ministry of Health, Child and Youth Mental Health Services, 1990
  15. 15. Eschatological Insights
  16. 16. Insights “Psychotherapy and counselling (which includes listening, support, prayer, admonition, Scripture, meditation, encouragement, reflection, advice, confession, questioning, interpretation, evaluation, explanation, teaching, informing, empathy, verbalising feelings, unconditional love, trust, authenticity) is a powerful instrument that the H.S. is able to utilise.” G. R. Collins, “Biblical Basis for Christian Counselling” (1993)
  17. 17. Insights (continued) • The therapeutic process can best facilitate the Spirit’s work by having an eschatological orientation. • From an eschatological perspective, latent victim is not captive to their emotions, only able to return abuse for abuse. • Instead, they can forgive because they are able to envision abuser as God does and see themselves whole in Christ. G. R. Collins, “Biblical Basis for Christian Counselling” (1993)
  18. 18. Challenge to Christian Counsellors • To enable people to see their problems more clearly. • To assist them to live their lives in light about what is certain in the future. • To provide a firm basis on which the victim can rebuild their lives. G. R. Collins, “Biblical Basis for Christian Counselling” (1993)
  19. 19. Biblical & Theological Insights
  20. 20. Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 1: 11 Deviation from God’s perfect plans for human beings is destructive. Sexual deviancy (rape, incest, abuse) is selfcentred, and often expresses a desire to manipulate, control, or hurt another person. In every case, fornication is presented as behaviour opposed to the plan and will of God.
  21. 21. Matthew 5:28 To lust (want what is wrong sexually) is as evil as doing what is wrong sexually. This is sinful thinking. CSA leaves at least two people abused. According to Jesus, this is unequivocally, morally and ethically reprehensible.
  22. 22. 1 Corinthians 6 - 7 A person who cannot resist sexual temptation is not free. They are caught in the strangling hold of uncontrolled impulses. Therefore, sex outside of a covenant relationship restricts freedom.
  23. 23. 1 Corinthians 6: 13, 18 Sexual sin is something that affects the body. “All other sins a man commits outside the body, but he who sins sexually sins against the body.” Paul implores us to “flee from sexual immorality.”
  24. 24. Proverbs 5: 1-8; 1 Corinthians 6: 9,10; 1 Thessalonians 4: 3; Ephesians 5: 3-7; Colossians 3: 5,6. The Bible warns us repeatedly of the enslaving influence of inappropriate sexual behaviour. Immoral sex hinders the potential oneness that can come within marriage.
  25. 25. Ephesians 6: 10-13 Christians are in a spiritual battle against the forces of evil. Our “Achilles heal” is often sexual temptation and it is here the attack often comes. We fail at times to rely on the protective power of the H.S.