Counselling Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse (Counselling by Claire Burke Draucker, Donna Martsolf

By Claire Burke Draucker, Donna Martsolf

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Suicidal thoughts). Examples of helpful counsellor responses to disclosure may include: • ‘I would like to hear more about that experience. qxd 4/11/2006 3:30 PM Page 45 Disclosing an Experience of CSA 45 • ‘I can imagine it was hard for you to share that experience with me. ) • ‘It can be important to discuss your sexual abuse experience, as it may be related to your current concerns. ) • ‘For some women (men), sharing an abuse experience for the first time (with a counsellor) can result in some very strong (confusing, distressing) feelings.

Jason would have benefited from a discussion of the multiple possibilities regarding retrieved material, ranging from ‘reasonably accurate memory of real events’ to ‘a form of self-suggestion emerging from the client’s internal suggestive mechanisms’ (APA, 1998: 936). As Jason’s drinking increased and he began to experience outbursts that interfered with his current work situation, the focus of the counselling should have been on stabilization rather than on memory retrieval. The impact of Jason’s retrieved memories on his relationship with his mother, which had been primarily positive, should have been considered.

Counsellor : Well, you said your mother tended to your wounds after your father beat you. Were the wounds on your buttocks or private parts? Jason: I guess. I don’t really remember very much. You think I might have been sexually abused? Counsellor : Well, your discomfort and feeling that ‘something happened’ might suggest that. Jason: My mother was very good to me. She was a little odd, but that doesn’t mean … I sure don’t remember anything happening, but, well, I do remember my brothers making fun of how much she ‘loved’ me.

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