Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Professional Books -- the Clinical Detective: Techniques in the Evaluation of Sexual Abuse by A. N. Hoorwitz

Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Professional Books -- the Clinical Detective: Techniques in the Evaluation of Sexual Abuse by A. N. Hoorwitz

Article excerpt

Hoorwitz, A. N. (1992) The clinical detective: Techniques in the evaluation of sexual abuse. New York: W. W. Norton, 303 pp., $34.95.

The professional and popular literature on the treatment of sexual abuse has exploded in recent years. Aaron Hoorwitz's well-written book on the evaluation of sexual abuse is a welcome addition. Both beginning and advanced therapists will benefit from Hoorwitz's expertise.

A major portion of the book is organized around Hoorwitz's conceptual framework for interviewing children. From discussing the limits of confidentiality to developing a common language to patching up children prior to the end of sessions, he describes how to interview children around this highly charged and often painful subject with sensitivity and respect. Moreover, through engaging, well-thought-out clinical dialogue the author shows the reader how to elicit a credible story, one that will hold up in court if necessary, and on those occasions when a child is lying about specific allegations being presented, how to determine the reasons for the fabrication (e.g., pressure from a parent or attempts to please adults) and uncover whether any other abuse/neglect has occurred.

After a while I found myself looking forward to the interviews between Hoorwitz and his student that are interspersed throughout the book, responding as if I was part of the dialogue as well. These conversations between supervisor and supervisee not only break up the written text, but also serve to address readers' probable hesitations, concerns, and questions. …

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