Therapy groups are those that have a therapist facilitator. A therapist specializing in child sexual abuse or a sex offender therapist who also does family treatment is a possible resource for a group for mothers of sexually abused children. If the perpetrator is a family member, and the mother is involved with Child Protective Services, she may be requested to attend a therapy group, and information will be provided by that agency. If her child has been removed from her care and placed in protective custody, participation in required treatment may be a prerequisite for the child to be returned to her care.
Mothers experience predictable initial reactions to the disclosure of a child's sexual abuse: shock, denial, anger, anxiety, and depression. Group therapy provides an opportunity for mothers to process feelings with an experienced therapist and share this experience with others who have similar thoughts and feelings. Therapy groups can also offer educational interventions such as assertiveness training, anger management, stress management, cognitive-behavior therapy, emotion regulation, mindfulness-based therapies, communication skills, parenting classes, and other therapeutic interventions (e.g., art, journaling , poetry, music, meditation).
Suggestions for resourcing therapy groups in your area include:
- Call the local Department of Human Services, Child Welfare program and request information about therapeutic services for mothers of sexually abused children.
- Call the Victim Services Coordinator at your county courthouse and request information about a local therapy group for mothers.
- Call the local Women's Resource Center or Crisis Center to access information about support resources in the community.
- Call the local Child Abuse Assessment Center and request information about local therapeutic groups for mothers.
- Call a local sex offender therapist. They offer therapeutic services for family members of offenders and may have an ongoing therapy group for nonoffending spouses/partners.
- Call local therapists, requesting their expertise in the area of child sexual abuse and their knowledge of local therapy groups for mothers.