Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Opening the Door - A Treatment Model for Therapy with Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Opening the Door - A Treatment Model for Therapy with Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse

Article excerpt

ADRIENNE CROWDER: Opening the Door-A Treatment Model for Therapy with Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse. Brunner/Mazel, New York, 1995, 214 pp., $19.50, pb.

Psychotherapists who serve adolescent or adult male survivors of sexual abuse will appreciate this volume. Using material gathered from forty-one colleagues with expertise in working with male survivors, Crowder delivers a readable account of a four-stage treatment model presented in remarkable depth considering the brevity of the book.

The chapters are filled with many important ideas for both the experienced and the novice clinician. For example, the author advises that the dynamics of treatment parallel the dynamics of abuse, and care must be taken not to replicate the trauma through the treatment process. She then reminds us that "the commission of sexual offenses is the result of complex variables which cannot be narrowed down to the single variable of previous sexual victimization (p. 14)," so male victims do not automatically become male perpetrators. In addition, she notes that timeliness is an important factor when offering abuse-related therapy and warns that working intensively on past trauma when the survivor's life is currently crisis-ridden will generally only exacerbate his current instability.

Crowder presents a four-stage healing process: ( 1) Breaking Silence; (2) Victim Stage; (3) Survivor Phase; (4) Thriver Stage. Interventions are organized in relation to this four-phase model and they are presented according to the therapeutic phase in which they are most appropriately utilized. There is a chapter on group therapy that describes a two-stage process: the first is a structured, close-ended, psychoeducational group; the second stage is open-ended and unstructured and focuses on resolving abuse-related trauma and building or re-building life skills. …

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