Youth Services Law

Importance of Non-Offending Parents in Therapy

In recent research, I ran across a study that is a few years old, but still important and frequently cited. The study worked with 100 families of sexually abused children who were exhibiting Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related behavioral problems. The researchers randomly assigned the families to one of three cognitive behavioral interventions -- child only, non-offending parent and child, or parent only -- or simply information and encouragement to find a therapist. The study found that children who participated in the interventions, either child only or parent and child sessions, showed significant improvement over the other two groups, and the children who participated with their parent showed more improvement than any of the other groups. This study, and later ones that built upon it, show the importance of non-offending parents in a child's recovery from abuse.

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