• March 2009
  • Vol. 10, No. 2

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Treatment for Sexually Abused Children With Problematic Sexual Behavior

A recent study describes a promising treatment for sexually abused children who display problematic sexual behavior (PSB). The Safety, Mentoring, Advocacy, Recovery, and Treatment (SMART) model uses cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help children develop skills to control emotional and sexual impulses. Treatment also focuses heavily on the family, and the SMART model uses individual, family, and group therapy concurrently.

The study describes the use of the SMART model to treat 62 children, ages 3 to 11, who had a history of sexual abuse and PSB. Treatment consisted of three sequential phases (safety/stabilization, triggers/integration, and resocialization). Each phase included activities to promote recovery and the acquisition of appropriate, adaptive skills.

Preliminary findings suggest that the SMART model is effective in reducing PSB exhibited by children with a history of childhood sexual abuse. For children in the study, there were statistically and clinically significant declines on all PSB measures, which continued to be evident at the 6-month and 12-month posttreatment follow-ups.

The study, "Get SMART: Effective Treatment for Sexually Abused Children With Problematic Sexual Behavior," by Betsy J. Offermann, Elizabeth Johnson, Sonja T. Johnson-Brooks, and Harolyn M. E. Belcher, was published in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, Vol. 1(3).

To order a copy of this study, visit the Haworth Publishing website:


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