Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Book Reviews -- Bridging the Silence: Nonverbal Modalities in the Treatment of Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Susan Simonds

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Book Reviews -- Bridging the Silence: Nonverbal Modalities in the Treatment of Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Susan Simonds

Article excerpt

SIMONDS, Susan, BRIDGING THE SILENCE: Nonverbal Modalities in the Treatment of Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Evanston, Illinois: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1994, 203 pp., $27.00 hardcover.

People who have been sexually abused often have difficulty articulating their experience. Finding words to describe what happened to them and how they felt about it as children, as well as what they think and feel now as adults reflecting back, is sometimes impossible. Nonverbal expression can provide information that is accessible to both therapists and the survivors of abuse that will allow them to develop treatment to uncover, heal and rebuild.

Nonverbal treatment modalities include art and movement that helps clients to contain, explore and express their experience. Survivors can use creative arts, especially drawing, to describe events, relationships and feelings. They can also use body movement to uncover their feelings about their experience, to develop ways to confront those experiences and to create new postures to reclaim and rebuild themselves.

Susan Simonds, herself an experienced therapist who has used extensively in her practice the techniques about which she writes, recommends that they be part of three stage sequential approach to therapy. Treatment should begin with creating an atmosphere of safety and containment, moving through a period of assessing and resolving traumatic memories and ending with attending to related issues and developing a new sense of self.

Simonds describes specific detailed art and movement exercises therapists can use in their treatment of child abuse survivors. She also provides examples of possible responses, ways to analyze responses and cautions about potential problematic responses. …

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