Survivors of Childhood Abuse: Their Reported Experiences with Professional Help
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This article analyzes the self-reports of 384 adults who responded to a survey of people abused physically, sexually, or emotionally by family members in childhood. Most of the respondents sought help as adults from social workers and other mental health professionals for the long-term effects of their abusive experiences. This article analyses the reports of their help-seeking experiences against a backdrop of the reports of clinicians and researchers on working with survivors, as reported in the literature. Although survivors of childhood abuse often are described as having difficulty relating to professionals, these respondents persisted in seeking help and tended to report at least one experience with professional services that was very helpful. Their self-esteem and family functioning in adulthood was associated with having had a very helpful professional or service provider. The findings describe the responses most valued by survivors, as well as their views of the limitations of available services.
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