Creative Response to Child Sexual Abuse: Challenges and by Sue Richardson, Heather Bacon

By Sue Richardson, Heather Bacon

Regardless of heightened media cognizance and the rise in specialist wisdom approximately baby abuse, many young children are nonetheless being failed through the approach. this article addresses the intense perform dilemmas bearing on those young children.

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Sample text

Heard and Lake (1997) have extended Bowlby’s model of behavioural systems which maintain proximity and exploration. As part of this extension, the authors have introduced the concept of two major alternative patterns of relating: supportive companionable (SC) and dominating and submissive (D/S). Supportive companionable forms of relating promote the goals of exploration and interest sharing. Supportive companionable relating depends on the availability of responsive, attuned and empathic caregiving.

Attachment as a mediator in the long-term effects of sexual abuse Even where children show no obvious problems, the dynamics of childhood sexual abuse might resurface in the area of interpersonal relationships. Main and Goldwyn (1984) suggest that a resistant or avoidant child may become a dismissive adult, idealising relationships, unable to recall childhood, uncomfortable with intimacy, and subsequently disappointed or even re-abused. An anxious or ambivalent child may become a confused and anxious adult: clinging, dependent and jealous, and overly emotionally expressive.

Research indicates that stress alters the developing brain, so that the stress response becomes the template for brain organisation (Golier and Yehuda 1998; Perry and Pollard 1998). This is characterised by primitive protective responses to fear: fight, flight or freeze reactions. Young children cannot escape by moving away so will cry, dissociate or become unresponsive. These responses may become habitual, and the child will be constantly afraid and hypervigilant or irritable and hyperactive, and easily restimulated by reminders of the traumatising event.

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