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Feminist-Informed Family Therapy for the Treatment of Intrafamily Child Sexual Abuse

Feminist-Informed Family Therapy for the Treatment of Intrafamily Child Sexual Abuse

Abstract

Feminists are critical of family therapists in the treatment of incest because of their exclusive reliance on family systems theory, which blinds them to the societal impact and the effect of incest on individual members of the family. This article argues, however, that although the feminist critique of family therapy has raised important and irrefutable concerns regarding the political aspects of sexual abuse and family therapy, one of the most effective ways to address these concerns is through family therapy itself. A model for feminist-informed family therapy, which integrates the feminist, child sexual abuse, and family therapy literature, is explored. It is proposed that protection and empowerment of the incest victim is best done through a gender-sensitive family systems approach to treatment.
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