Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] PP165-339969 July 20, 2001 11:11 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 13, No. 4, 2001 (
Memory of Childhood Sexual Abuse Among
Clinicians: Characteristics, Outcomes,
and Current Therapy Attitudes
and Sherry L. Hamby
This paperreportspreliminary dataon asample oftherapistswith memoryof child-
hood sexual abuse. Therapists who reported experiencing childhood sexual abuse
(CSA, n = 131) were compared with therapists who suspected sexual abuse but
had no memories (n = 24) on variables related to abuse characteristics, outcomes,
and perceived difﬁculties working with clients with a CSA history. Therapists who
suspected abuse, in contrast to those who made deﬁnite reports, were more likely
to report that the perpetrator was a family member, that their CSA did not involve
physical contact, that there was alcoholism in their families of origin, and that
the CSA had negative effects on their relationships with their own children, ability
to trust others, sexual satisfaction, and work life. Therapists who suspected abuse
also reported more difﬁculty treating CSA clients because of interpersonal pulls
during sessions, arousal without memories of abuse, and some countertransfer-
ential behaviors. These ﬁndings indicate that issues related to personal trauma
should be addressed during training and practice.
KEY WORDS: clinicians; memories; childhood sexual abuse.
Memory research in the ﬁeld of trauma currently suggests, in both clinical
and nonclinical samples, that some adults who were sexually abused as children
have periods of time when they do not remember the abuse (Courtois, 1999;
Elliott, 1995,1997; Feldman-Summers & Pope, 1994; Williams & Banyard,1997).
Department of Nursing, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire.
Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department of Nursing, 259 Hewitt Hall, University
of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2001 Plenum Publishing Corporation