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Disclosure to Children: Hearing the Child s Experience

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What and how should children be told of their parent s sexually addictive behavior? How does disclosure impact the parent-child relationship? Do children want to be told, and if so, what age is appropriate for the disclosure? Are there protective factors, such as a therapist s presence, that promote healthy disclosure? How much information should be shared? The authors are involved in ongoing research to investigate the impact of disclosure to children of a parent s sexually addictive behavior. Participants of the study are males and females over age 13 who have a parent who has acted out sexually and is in a recovery process. Due to the fact that this population has not been previously studied, the authors developed a survey from previously gathered qualitative data. While the research continues to be gathered and analyzed, the authors are using information from the survey to guide clinicians in assisting families struggling with this issue. The intent of this article is to offer practical suggestions for clinicians based on comments made by children who have experienced disclosure of a parent s addiction.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10720160309045

Affiliations: 1: Clinical Consultant to The Meadows, Wickenburg, Arizona, USA 2: Private Practice, Phoenix, Arizona, USA 3: University of San Diego, California, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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