Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Linda Stone Fish
  • Mary Jo BarrettEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_437

Name of Family Form

Couple therapy.


Incest survivors; Childhood trauma survivors


Childhood sexual abuse often impacts adult romantic relationships. Adults who have been sexually violated as children often carry wounds that are triggered in current relationships which carry similar dynamics to the relationships in which the sexual abuse occurred. Interactional cycles of survival are then activated in the couple relationship which make it difficult for survivors and their partners to feel in control, powerful, and connected. Sometimes, intimate adult relationships retraumatize adult survivors. Therapists who are not trauma informed may unwittingly do the same thing. This chapter will introduce clinicians to the Collaborative Change Model (CCM), a trauma-informed model of couple therapy, which helps couples where one or both partners are survivors.


The Collaborative Change Model was first introduced by Trepper and Barrett (1986) to treat incest in a...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Syracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Center for Contextual ChangeChicagoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Farrah Hughes
    • 1
  • Allen Sabey
    • 2
  1. 1.Employee Assistance ProgramMcLeod HealthFlorenceUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA