The Trauma of Sexual Assault: Treatment, Prevention, and Practice

By Jenny Petrak; Barbara Hedge | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOURAL
THERAPY FOR MOOD AND
BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS

Helen Kennerley

As you will see, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is effective with a range of psychological problems and is, thus, a very reasonable therapy option for many survivors of sexual trauma. However, when working with this client group, the therapist is often applying the principles and practice of CBT in the face of chronic difficulties, interpersonal stresses, and the therapist's own strong reactions to a client's history and/or behaviour. So, the therapist needs to think not only about the clinical utility of CBT, but how best to implement treatment so that it is sensitive to both client and therapist needs and issues.

Of course, not all victims of sexual assault will develop significant problems. However, many do seek professional help and therapists working with such clients will be well aware that they can present with widely varying difficulties including, anxiety disorders, impulsive behaviours, depression, and personality disorders.

With this in mind, this chapter will first review CBT and its clinical applications, then consider what mood and behaviour problems face survivors of sexual assault and how CBT can be adapted to meet their needs. Finally, I will touch on the field of schema-focused cognitive therapy, indicating how, and when, it might be a helpful development in therapy. Of course, within a single chapter, one can only scratch the surface of the field of CBT and hope to whet the appetite for further reading.

The Trauma of Sexual Assault. Edited by Jenny Petrak and Barbara Hedge.
© 2002 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

-157-

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