By Anne Bannister

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Of course, this lack of close relationships is probably related to the difficulties in making attachments and the problems of identity, which I have already discussed. It is not difficult to see that early traumatic experiences of child sexual abuse affect children throughout their lives. Reparative experiences seem to be essential to allow more successful child development. 36 CREATIVE THERAPIES WITH TRAUMATIZED CHILDREN Studies of young people who have been sexually abused One of the problems of research with adult populations who have been abused in childhood is that any subsequent symptoms or problems may be as a result of life events, subsequent to the sexual abuse.

A look at the literature on therapy with adults who have been sexually abused in childhood seems to indicate that many people have problems throughout their lives, probably as a result of their childhood trauma. However, treatment for sexually abused children was almost unknown 20 years ago and is still relatively rare. I have suggested that children, from a very early age, can respond to therapeutic interventions which can help them to recover from the damage caused by child sexual abuse. Kazdin (1994) reviewed the broad field of research into psychotherapy with children and adolescents.

These points are further expanded below. Damage to developmental processes, including attachment The study of psychological trauma has been extensively covered by Herman (1998). 33–50). She gives many examples which show that traumatic memories lack verbal narrative and context, and that they are encoded in the form of vivid sensations and images. A particularly strong piece of evidence which she quotes is from Terr (1988), who had docu- CREATIVE THERAPIES AND THEIR USES 55 mented the histories of 20 children who had experienced severe trauma in their first two and a half years of life.

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