Mother-daughter Incest: A Guide for Helping Professionals

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Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma Press, 2004 - Family & Relationships - 201 pages
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Provide more effective services for the victims of this underreported, rarely investigated form of sexual abuse!

Until recently, mother-child incest was considered to be virtually nonexistent. The majority of the sexual abuse literature focused on male-perpetrated abuse or father-daughter incest. Mother-Daughter Incest: A Guide for Helping Professionals fills that gap in the literature, making an important contribution to knowledge and therapeutic practice by adding the voices of these survivors to the dialogue.

This important new book describes the phenomenon and aftermath of mother-daughter incest, focusing on the victim's perception of and reaction to her experience. This book's unique approach integrates psychological theory and practical interventions with the words of the survivors themselves. Their revealing and moving first-person testimonies keenly articulate daughters' reactions to sexual abuse at the hands of their mothers, their past and present relationships with their mothers, and their perceptions of the impact of their mothers' abuse on their lives.

This vital book explores:
  • the unique dynamics, psychological impact, and sequelae of this type of incest
  • factors that contribute to the underreporting and underinvestigation of mother-daughter incest
  • the significance of the mother-daughter bond, plus cultural definitions and expectations of motherhood—key factors in society's denial of the existence of this kind of abuse
  • the stigmatization that survivors must endure if they reveal their experiences to others
  • psychological theory—developmental, object-relations, self-in-relation (relational), and attachment—and what they tell us about mother-daughter relationships
  • common themes encountered in therapy with survivors—acute shame, helplessness, isolation, betrayal and grief, identity issues, impaired sexual development, difficulty coping, and parenting concerns—and how to address them
  • ways in which survivors attempt to regulate their internal emotional states
  • strategies for helping a survivor to take charge of her life
  • the ways in which survivors are likely to relate to their therapists and how survivors may expect therapists and other helping professionals to perceive them
  • transferential-countertransferential dynamics between client and therapist and their effect on the process and outcomes of therapy—and nine strategies for minimizing countertransference
There is no other resource like Mother-Daughter Incest: A Guide for Helping Professionals. Whether you are a therapist, social worker, medical or mental health professional or a student in any of those fields, this book will inform and educate you in ways that you'll be thankful for if you ever have a client who is a survivor of this kind of abuse.

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