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Couple Therapy with Sexual Assault Survivors  

Author:  Charlie Huntington.; Galena K. Rhoades.; Lindsay M. Orchowski.

Source: Volume 14, Number 03, Winter 2022 , pp.9-18(10)

Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly

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With high rates of trauma, in general, and sexual assault, in particular, presenting in couples who seek therapy, the clinician’s knowledge of and experience with the relational impacts of such traumatic experiences may be crucial to therapeutic success. Sexual dysfunction and other intimacy issues are pervasive among couples in which one or both partners have endured sexual trauma. The authors describe both the direct effects of sexual assault on the victim as well the indirect effects on their non-perpetrating partner. While noting that this arena is understudied, they outline the clinical implications of working with these couples and offer suggestions regarding the best and most frequently used treatment approaches for meeting the unique needs of this subgroup of distressed couples.

Keywords: Sexual Trauma; Secondary Trauma; Vicarious Traumatization; Assessing for and Facilitating Disclosure

Affiliations:  1: University of Denver; 2: University of Denver; 3: Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital.

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