U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library


NCJ Number
Journal of Child Sexual Abuse Volume: 1 Issue: 2 Dated: (1992) Pages: 1-16
J J Haugaard
Date Published
16 pages
Sexually abused children may oppose the process of therapy because of beliefs they form about reasons for their involvement in therapy; some of these beliefs may prematurely terminate therapy or impede its progress.
A sexually abused child's opposition to therapy is different from a negative reaction to inappropriate or incorrect therapy. Opposition may arise in therapy that is proceeding well and in which a healthy therapeutic relationship has been established. When recognized and effectively explored, opposition to therapy may lead to a deepening of the relationship between child and therapist and promote the process of therapy. Left unrecognized, opposition may result in ineffective therapy, the premature termination of therapy, or both. Therefore, an important component of therapy with sexually abused children involves their conceptualizations of therapy and their involvement in it. Four possible conceptualizations of therapy by children are described: therapy as an indication of illness, therapy as punishment, therapy as an accusation, and therapy as another form of abuse. The process of forming these conceptualizations is outlined, and ways in which experiences of sexually abused children may make them particularly prone to certain beliefs are discussed. 22 references