Single Paper or Case Study

The Reconfiguration of Shame in Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Perpetrated by a Maternal Figure

Sunday, March 25
2:30 PM - 2:50 PM
Location: Wilson

Sexual abuse by a maternal figure has long warranted attention in the literature due to the need to further understand its impact and provide therapeutic interventions for survivors. Societal perceptions and gender norms that pertain to the role of a maternal figure influence the manner in which survivors are believed and provided support by others, including professionals. Shame is a core affect tied to the experience of childhood sexual abuse. In abuse perpetrated by a maternal figure, shame is complex, as the injury is caused by the person who is seen or felt as a caregiver or rescuer; hence, such a betrayal complicates how shame is managed. Shame affects the disclosure of abuse, which is often either minimized, denied, or dissociated.


In this paper, I explore the reconfiguration of shame in survivors of childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by a maternal figure, focusing on the impact on attachments, including in treatment. The relationship of gender and shame in the sexual victimization of boys and girls by a maternal figure as well as the influence of sexual abuse characteristics, occurrence of other types of abuse, and adult revictimization on the reconfiguration of shame are also discussed. Finally, implications for treatment are presented.

Learning Objectives:

Grace Tomas-Tolentino

Director
Core Psychotherapy Center, Ltd.
Schaumburg, Illinois

Grace Tomas-Tolentino, PhD, is the founder and director of Core Psychotherapy Center. She works primarily with adult survivors of childhood abuse, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sex trafficking, and torture. She specializes in the treatment of PTSD, dissociative disorders, somatoform disorders, self-injury, and eating disorders. She offers individual psychotherapy and facilitates groups for adult women survivors of childhood sexual abuse and groups for women and men that focus on the impact of trauma on sexuality and sexual intimacy. She is trained in clinical hypnosis through the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. She is the current president of the ISSTD Northwest Illinois Component Group.

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The Reconfiguration of Shame in Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Perpetrated by a Maternal Figure



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