chapter  23
22 Pages

Sexual abuse and sexual abusing in childhood and adolescence


There may be those who object to one chapter covering the work of the child psychotherapist with sexually abused and abusing children and young people. The one group, after all, is victimised by the other. Several therapists have told me of how they feel unable to work with young abusers and link this to the intensity of feeling experienced in their work with abused children: anxiety that this outrage might spill over, be uncontainable in work with the latter group seems common. There is also

an interesting but intellectually ¯awed position which sees work in this area as of necessity polarised ± either one helps the victims or one is, by treating the abuser, somehow condoning the acts committed. It becomes an almost impossible task to try to integrate the developmental trauma that is a feature of both groups into one's internal picture and to hold in mind the abuser as both offender and victim.