Shattered Innocence: A Practical Guide for Counseling Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Article excerpt

NEIL WEINER AND SHARON E. ROBINSON KURPIUS: Shattered Innocence: A Practical Guide for Counseling Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Taylor & Francis, Washington, D.C., 1995, 198 pp., $59.95 (cl.), $24.95 (pb.).

This book is written as guide for mental health professionals who are working with sexually abused female clients and for the clients themselves to aid in their own recovery process.

The first chapter emphasizes the importance of more victims of childhood sexual abuse to become visible. The second chapter offers a short overview of child abuse in different cultures. Weiner and Kurpius then discuss mislabeling in identifying sexual abuse, provide a listing of keying events to help in identification, and discuss presenting problems of clients. There follows a detailed chapter on Stephen King's novel it, which is presented as a model for evaluating and understanding the experience of being sexually abused, and is then applied to a clinical case. There are chapters on the family as a fertile ground for childhood abuse and on ego splitting as the way children survive abuse. Clinical examples are provided. There are chapters on therapeutic interventions and on techniques for helping clients in the recovery process. A detailed case study of the process of recovery is followed by a client's telling her own story. The book concludes with a practical guide for clients to find appropriate therapy for themselves.

This book is of greatest value in providing an in-depth understanding of a client's experience with sexual abuse and her psychological coping mechanisms. …