Techniques for Crisis Intervention and Therapy for Sexually Abused and Assaulted Victims

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The number of victims is regarded as an increasing worry in today's society. Sexually abused and assaulted victims are the two most common sorts of victims. They are considered primary victims, with long-term negative consequences from the abuse. Sexual assault is defined as any unwelcome sexual activity or act that is aggressive, coercive, threatening, or forced, and for which an individual did not consent or was unable to consent. It is a crime since it is shocking, unexpected, violent, and even life threatening. Sexual harassment, unwelcome sexual touching, and voyeurism are all examples of sexual assaults.On the other hand, sexual abuse is when an individual in an authoritative or powerful position takes advantage of the respect and trust of another person to engage in sexual activities. Sexual abuse can occur between a child and an adult, a priest and a parishioner, a student and a teacher, a child and an older child, or between a patient and a doctor. Sexual abuse is considered to be a crime.


From data collected by CDC, approximately one in five women (18.3%) women and one in seventy-one men reported that they experienced rape at one time in their lives. It further reported that around one in twenty men and women have experienced sexual violence that is not rape in form of sexual coercion, non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, and unwanted sexual contact in the twelve months before the survey. The national survey indicated that 37.4% of adults who had been raped were first raped between the ages of 18 to 24 years (Calvert, R., Et. Al, 2015). The study further stated that among the undergraduate women, 19% of them experienced sexual assault or attempted sexual assault since entering college. A survey of the perpetrators indicates that among the female victims of rape, the perpetrators were said to include intimate partners who were 51.1%, acquaintances contribute 40.8%, strangers were 13.8%, and family members contributed 12.5% of the total number of perpetrators (CDC, 2017). On the other hand, among the male victims, the perpetrators were indicated to be acquaintances who were 52.4% and strangers were 15.1%.

Impact to the Society

Sexual abuse and assault have an impact on the survivors in terms of short-term and long-term emotional, reproductive health, physical, and psychological problems. In many cases, men who get sexually abused or assaulted as children respond in many ways. Some victims can themselves become the offenders thus increasing the level of violence and social injustice in the community. Other survivors can view themselves as helpless victims and continue to suffer in their society thus increasing the number of unproductive members of the society. The act also has a direct effect on individuals' victims.

Impact on Individuals

Sexual abuse and assault victims also get affected by the acts through various ways. In many cases, the psychological disturbances are unavoidable. For example, and the individual who are victims of homosexuality often suffer the negative consequences. In many cases, the social stigma of being suspected to be a homosexual, in addition to having the feeling of guilt can cause psychological disturbances (Briere, 1986). The sexual abuse often creates a confusion and also concern about their sexuality. Physically, individuals may be hurt when the perpetrator forces themselves on them. However, physical abuse can become dangerous to the point where the victim ends up being brutally murdered.

Summary of Literature

Sexual abuse and assault include any kind of sexual violence such as rape and any sexual contact that is not consensual. Many experts believe that such acts are not only about sex but also aim at gaining more power over the victims. Instant crisis assistance after an abuse or assault can be valuable and also save lives. Research indicates that child sexual abuse or the CSA affects approximately one in four girls and one in every six boys before attaining the age of eighteen years old (Foster, 2014).

Description of the Topic

The topic under analysis is, "Crisis Intervention Techniques ad Therapy for Sexually Abuses and Assaulted Victims". The topic describes the various ways that can be used to help victims of abuses and assault.

Effective Interventions Identified in the Literature

There are various crisis intervention techniques and therapy that have been identified as being effective in sexual abuse and assault victims including;

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT)

Emotionally focused therapy or EFT for couples who have childhood sexual abuse survivors (CSA) is one of the interventions that have been identified by MacIntosh (2008). EFT is regarded as an intervention that is based on a scientific study of bonding and love among adult couples. It aims at addressing distress in the intimate relationship of adults. The focus of this therapy is working with the families and couples to help them in facilitating the creation of a secure and lasting bond between family members and intimate partners. It also aims at reinforcing the positive bonds that already exist while increasing closeness, connection, and security in intimate relationships (MacIntosh, H., B. & Johnson, S, 2008). The study identified the advantage of using this method as the ability of survivors to improve the relationship with others and being able to develop stable attachment relationships.

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

Cognitive Processing Therapy or CPT is regarded as a manualized treatment protocol that is evidenced-based and has been found to be effective in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other corollary symptoms that occur after a traumatic event. The method mainly focuses on the way in which the traumatic event is interpreted and managed by the individuals who is trying to gain control of their lives. According to the research by House (2016), clinicians and researchers have highly applied the diagnosis of PTSD as an organizing principle in having an understanding of the psychological effects of CSA in adult survivors. Clinical sample assessments of CSA survivors indicate that around 69% meet the principles for a PTSD diagnosis (House, 2006). The method aims at changing individuals upsetting thoughts that they have since the traumatic experience.

The Application of Art and Play therapy

Art and play therapy are considered to be non-traditional means to talk therapy. Through the means of creative expression, teens, children, and adults are in a position to heal from within. The approaches are playful, non-threatening and often engage the whole family. A study by Johnston (1997) indicates that there is an increase in the number of sexual abuse incidences in the last decade that has prompted the development of improved services by mental health professions that are aimed at treating sexually victimized adult and children survivors. The study reviewed literature that indicated that art and play therapy are effective in analyzing the existence of sexual abuse through the use of diagnostic indicator and in accessing patients who have been sexually abused through a communication channel that is active, direct, and emotionally loaded. The specific play therapy that is specifically used includes puppets, therapeutic drawings, sand play, and anatomical dolls (Johnson, 1997).

The Support Network

The support network encourages the partnership between caregivers and parents by helping them to become successful and strong advocates for their children and adolescents. An article by Sesan (1986) indicates that this is a community-based program of treatment for families and children who are in crisis because of extra-familial child abuse that is sexual in nature. The application of an intervention model for treatment provides an opportunity to the families and children to get immediate contact with emotional support, problem-solving strategies, and education (Sesan,1986).

Trauma-Focused Group Therapy and Present-Focused Group Therapy

The mutualized trauma-focus group therapy (TFGT) is an efficient means that has been designed to be an efficient way of conducting directed exposure. The therapy was mainly adapted to cater for traumatized children who are suffering from PTSD based on its success with adults who have been diagnosed with PTSD and children who are displaying symptoms of PTSD but who have not suffered from trauma. Research indicates that TFGT is a more superior method than the Present-Focused Group Therapy which is also used in treating PTSD (Classen, 2011). The present-centered therapy is another non-trauma focused method of treating PTSD.

Child Therapy using Attachment and Family Systems Theory Orient

A study by Karakurt (2014) indicates that attachment theory provides a good framework for understanding and also treating interpersonal problems and emotional distress that result from sexual abuse during childhood. The attachment theory indicates that a strong physical and emotional attachment to at least a primary caregiver is vital to personal development. It is a theory that aims at describing the nature of emotional attachment that exists between human beings. It argues that the affectional bond that exists between infants and their caregivers is vital in ensuring that there is a healthy development. Karakurt (2014) further states that when attachment theory is combined with the family systems theory, there is a better chance for the therapists to an understanding of the family context in which sexual abuse happened and the way it affected the functioning and health of individuals throughout their lives. The systems theory assumes that all the parts of the system are linked to one another. It concentrates on the interaction among the different members of the system (Karakurt, 2014). According to the theory, the whole family is considered to be the unit that needs to be analyzed. In addition, system theorists have the belief that all the actions usually have the command and communication aspect is usually emphasized other than what is said or the content. Some effects of sexual abuse identified in the study include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse. However, the level of damage among the survivors can vary.

Wellness Approach

According to Hodges (2010), women who suffer from sexual abuse are often at a risk of facing various lifelong challenges.The wellness approach is identified as an approach that can help the victims. The wellness approach is considered to be a philosophical change in the way victims are given healthcare. Wellness is the state of ideal condition that ensures the normal function. The approach analyses the underlying cause of disruption or disturbance. It then helps in making the necessary lifestyle adjustments and interventions that would optimize the conditions needed for normal functioning. The environment often encourages natural healing and at the same time reduces the need to have invasive treating. Wellness care is different from the standard care because it aims at concentrating on the natural healing ability. It does not add anything in the system but removes what can interfere with the normal way of functioning. The method trusts that the individual's body is able to know what to do if it is not interfered with as opposed to the standard medical care that treats the symptoms using things from outside (Hodges, 2010). Wellness approach often helps individuals develop coping skills that assist them in enhancing the quality of their lives and everyday functioning in all the domains.

Game Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Another effective intervention method is the game-based cognitive behavioral therapy which integrates the structured play therapy with the traditional components that are found in the evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy. It aims at providing children and the families a forum that is motivating, non-threatening, supportive, and safe. According to the study done by Springer (2016), the theory is based on five main principles that include the application of data to inform, train, and treatment strategies. The second principle is the application an approach to therapy that is structured and directive. The next principle is the incorporation of interactive ad fun techniques. It also emphasizes on experimental learning and creating strengths. The treatment method takes advantage of the frequent feedback that is gathered in the treatment process. In addition, standardized behavioral measures are incorporated in gathering information that is related to the symptoms and the functioning of the family before the start of the therapy. The method includes several activities that are play-based to increase the level of fun in the treatment and also make it engaging, thus improving the receptivity and interest to therapy.

Available Resources for Counselors

Sexual abuse is any kind of sexual violence that includes rape, any sexual contact that is not consensual, and child molestation. Considering the increasing in sexual abuse and assault cases, there has been the need to have more resources for counselors to work. The resources are usually readily available such as the authorities including the police who are always available to save victims from such situations and arrest the perpetrators. Proper facilities are also available where victims can be provided proper care and where group therapy can take place. The therapist also has access to empirically-validated techniques as those identified in the literature review section of the paper.


There have been many challenges in the community including sexual abuse and assault. The group that is most affected are children who are vulnerable to perpetrators because of the fact that they cannot defend themselves. The effect on people who experience these vices and the impact on the society make it vital to analyze the issues and the various treatment plans. The impact includes; increase in criminals because some victims can themselves become the offenders thus increasing the level of violence and social injustice in the community. Individuals are also affected by such acts where they get psychological disturbances. For example, and the individual who are victims of homosexuality often suffer the negative consequences. In many cases, the social stigma of being suspected to be a homosexual, in addition to having the feeling of guilt can cause psychological disturbances. The sexual abuse often creates a confusion and also concern about their sexuality. Physically, individuals may be hurt when the perpetrator forces themselves on them. However, physical abuse can become dangerous to the point where the victim ends up being brutally murdered. Research indicates that there is a high prevalence where for example, according to the CDC approximately one in five women (18.3%) women and one in seventy-one men reported that they experienced rape at one time in their lives. The increase in such cases has resulted in many studies that try to get the most effective ways of healing patients. Some of the methods identified include; emotionally focused therapy (EFT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), the application of Art and Play therapy, the Support Network, Trauma-Focused Group Therapy and Present-Focused Group Therapy, Child Therapy using Attachment and Family Systems Theory Orient, Wellness Approach, and Game Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


Briere, J., & Runtz, M. (1986). Suicidal thoughts and behaviors in former sexual abuse victims. Pp. 413-423.

Calvert, R., Et. Al. (2015). Group cognitive analytic therapy for female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, Pp. 391-413.

CDC. (2017, 03 05). Sexual Violence: Data Sources. Retrieved from CDC:

Classen, C., Et. Al. (2011). A Comparison of Trauma-Focused and Present-Focused Group Therapy for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, Pp. 84-93.

Foster, J., & Hagedorn, B. (2014). Through the Eyes of the Wounded: A Narrative Analysis of Children's Sexual Abuse Experiences and Recovery Process. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, Pp. 538-557.

Hodges, E., & Myers, J. (2010). Counseling Adult Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: Benefits of Wellness Approach. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, Pp. 139-154.

House, A. (2006). Increasing the Usability of Cognitive Processing Therapy for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. Vol. 15(1), Pp. 87-102.

Johnson, S. (1997). The use of Art and Play Therapy with Victims of Sexual Abuse: A Review of the Literature. Family Therapy, Volume 24, Number 2, Pp. 102- 113.

Karakurt, G., & Silver, K. (2014). Therapy for Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors Using Attachment and Family Systems Theory Orientations. The American Journal of Family Therapy, Pp.79-91.

MacIntosh, H., B. & Johnson, S. (2008). Emotionally Focused Therapy For Couples and Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Pp. 298-315.

Sesan R., Murphy S., &., Freeark K., (1986). The Support Network: Crisis Intervention for Extrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Pp. 138-146.

April 19, 2023

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