Your child will need counseling after he or she discloses sexual abuse. Depending on many factors, you child may be willing to attend counseling, talk to a counselor, be honest about the abuse, and engage in a healing process. Some of these factors include:
  • The age of the child
  • Language ability of the child
  • How long the abuse occurred
  • Severity of abuse
  • Coping skills and level of dissociation or repression present
  • Emotional connection to the perpetrator 
  • Ongoing relationship with the perpetrator
  • Grooming process of the perpetrator and threats the child has heard
  • Relationship to mother who may be the communicator with the counselor
  • Coercive factors: Is the mother, law enforcement, or social services looking for information about the abuse?

What do you need to know about selection of a counselor for your child? Important qualifications include:

  • Education, training, credentials
  • Experience in working with children and experience in working with sexually abused children
  • Theory of counseling and philosophy of work with children
  • Training and experience in play therapy
  • Office equipment for play therapy

You may want to get references for the counselor. In the process of the investigation, you may meet with Child Protective Services, an examining physician , interviewer, and/or Child Abuse Assessment Center who may provide you with names of qualified individuals who are respected in the community for their expertise in sexual abuse. The person who provides counseling to your child is in a powerful and influential position. Your child needs to trust this person. And so do you.  

Before your child goes to counseling, you will want to discuss with the counselor how best to prepare her. Knowledge of the environment, the process, and the rules and guidelines will help your child prepare for the session.

An online resource for counselors is



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