Sibling Incest

Topics: Family, Child abuse, Child sexual abuse Pages: 15 (5475 words) Published: August 10, 2011
J Fam Viol (2009) 24:531–537 DOI 10.1007/s10896-009-9251-6


Sibling Incest: A Model for Group Practice with Adult Female Victims of Brother–Sister Incest Kacie M. Thompson

Published online: 5 June 2009 # Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Abstract Working with groups of people who have been sexually abused introduces mutual experiential themes into the process that can be beneficial and meaningful. This paper discusses brother–sister incestuous sexual abuse with implications for group work. Literature and research is reviewed concerning sexual abuse, incest, family relationships, and theories that aid in explaining incest. Themes covered include: effects of incest, coping methods, blaming, and family of the victim. Common themes are explored and implications for group work are suggested on the basis of length, detail, structure, content, and pre-group contact. Keywords Sibling incest . Group practice . Group therapy Sibling incest is widely believed by researchers and clinicians to the most common type of incest (Carlson et al. 2006). Historically, the issue of father–daughter incest has been most often referred to when speaking of incest as a form of sexual abuse; and the concept of sibling incest has been ignored. Despite the high occurrence of sibling incest and its negative effects, attention to this issue by the family, researchers, and professionals has been lacking (Bass et al. 2006). In fact, violence between siblings is much more prevalent than child abuse by parents (Kiselica and MorrillRichards 2007). The purpose of this discussion is to highlight the experience of victims of sibling incest by shedding light on their feelings, thoughts, and mental and emotional issues that are a result of incestuous abuse. Based on the understanding of the sibling relationship and aspects of sibling incest, a model for group therapy is introduced K. M. Thompson (*) University of Montana, Missoula, MT, USA e-mail:

for adult female victims of brother–sister incest. Aspects, such as sibling relationships, effects of brother sister incest, the family, blaming, coping, and theoretical frameworks, are discussed to inform group work with victims.

The Sibling Relationship & Incest Siblings share a unique relationship bound by genetics, social class, history, and family connections. The sibling relationship often outlasts many other relationships (Bass et al. 2006). The sibling relationship is unique in longevity and can be one of the most influential relationships in one’s life. Because of this, the impact siblings have on one another should not be underestimated (Kiselica and Morrill-Richards 2007). This unique relationship that siblings share is sometimes the reason why incidences of sibling incest are regarded as “sexual curiosity”. This view of sexual curiosity is often accepted by family members and the details of that curiosity are not fully understood (McVeigh 2003). Sibling incest is defined as sexual behavior between siblings that is not age appropriate, not transitory, and not motivated by developmentally appropriate curiosity. Sexual abuse between siblings is not limited to intercourse. It has been shown that unwanted sexual advances, sexual leers, and forcing a sibling to view pornographic material can have as much of a psychological impact on the victim as actual intercourse (Kiselica and Morrill-Richards 2007). There are many forms of sexual abuse, but the negative effect incest poses on the victim and the family cannot be ignored. The sibling relationship and the causes of sibling incest have been addressed in several ways. Some authors such as McVeigh (2003), note the importance of the power dynamic between the brother and sister, as that dynamic is caused by age difference and gender expectations. Haskins (2003)


J Fam Viol (2009) 24:531–537

states that incest with a younger sibling by an older sibling is motivated largely by urges to satisfy...

References: Alexander, P. C., & Anderson, C. L. (1994). An attachment approach to psychotherapy with the incest survivor. Psychotherapy (Chicago, Ill.), 31, 665–674. doi:10.1037/0033-3204.31.4.665. Anderson, K. M. (2006). Surviving incest: the art of resistance. Families in Society, 87, 409–416. Banyard, V., & Williams, L. (1996). Characteristics of child sexual abuse as correlates of women’s adjustment: a prospective study. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 853–865. doi:10.2307/353975. Bass, L. A., Taylor, B. A., Knudson-Martin, C., & Huenergardt, D. (2006). Making sense of abuse: case studies in sibling incest. Contemporary Family Therapy, 28, 87–109. doi:10.1007/s10591006-9697-0. Beutler, L. E., Williams, R. E., & Zetzer, H. A. (1994). Efficacy of treatment for victims of child sexual abuse. The Future of Children, 4, 156–175. doi:10.2307/1602529. Brand, B. L., & Alexander, P. C. (2003). Coping with incest: the relationship between recollections of childhood coping and adult functioning in female survivors of incest. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 16, 285–292. doi:10.1023/A:1023704309605. Carlson, B. E., Maciol, K., & Schneider, J. (2006). Sibling incest: reports from forty-one survivors. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 15, 19–34. doi:10.1300/J070v15n04_02. Chard, K. (2005). An evaluation of cognitive processing therapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder related to childhood sexual abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 965–971. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.73.5.965. Chard, K., Weaver, T., & Resick, P. (1997). Adapting cognitive processing therapy for child sexual abuse survivors. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 4, 31–52. doi:10.1016/S1077-7229(97) 80011-9. Cyr, M., Wright, J., McDuff, P., & Perron, A. (2002). Intrafamilial sexual abuse: brother–sister incest does not differ from father– daughter and stepfather–stepdaughter incest. Child Abuse & Neglect, 26, 957–973. doi:10.1016/S0145-2134(02)00365-4. Foa, E., Dancu, C., Hembree, E., Jaycox, L., Meadows, E., & Street, G. (1999). A comparison of exposure therapy, stress inoculation training, and their combination for reducing posttraumatic stress disorder in female assault victims. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 194–200. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.67.2.194. Haskins, C. (2003). Treating sibling incest using a family systems approach. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 25, 337–350. Jacobs, J. L. (1990). Reassessing mother blame in incest. Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 15, 500–514. doi:10.1086/494607.
J Fam Viol (2009) 24:531–537 Kiselica, M. S., & Morrill-Richards, M. (2007). Sibling maltreatment: the forgotten abuse. Journal of Counseling and Development, 85, 148–161. Kreidler, M. C., & England, D. B. (1990). Empowerment through group support: adult women who are survivors of incest. Journal of Family Violence, 5, 35–41. doi:10.1007/BF00979137. Martens, W. H. J. (2007). Optimism therapy: an adapted psychotherapeutic strategy for adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, 10, 30–38. McVeigh, M. J. (2003). ‘But she didn’t say no’: an exploration of sibling sexual abuse. Australian Social Work, 56, 116–126. doi:10.1046/j.0312-407X.2003.00062.x. Morrow, B. K., & Sorell, G. T. (1989). Factors affecting self-esteem, depression, and negative behaviors in sexually abused female adolescents. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 677–686. doi:10.2307/352167. Northen, H., & Kurland, R. (2001). Social work with groups. New York: Columbia University Press.
537 O’Hare, J., & Taylor, K. (1983). The reality of incest. Women & Therapy, 6, 215–229. doi:10.1300/J015v02n02_22. Phillips-Green, M. J. (2002). Sibling incest. The Family Journal (Alexandria, Va.), 10, 195–202. doi:10.1177/1066480702102009. Rudd, J. M., & Herzberger, S. D. (1999). Brother–sister incest— father–daughter incest: a comparison of characteristics and consequences. Child Abuse & Neglect, 23, 915–928. doi:10.1016/S0145-2134(99)00058-7. Schlesinger, N. J. (2006). Treatment implications of a female incest survivor’s misplaced guilt. Psychoanalytic Social Work, 13, 53– 65. doi:10.1300/J032v13n02_04. Sparks, A., & Goldberg, J. (1994). A current perspective on short-term groups for incest survivors. Women & Therapy, 15, 135–147. doi:10.1300/J015v15n02_11. Wanlass, J., Moreno, K., & Thomson, H. M. (2006). Group therapy for abused and neglected youth: therapeutic and child advocacy challenges. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 31, 311–326. doi:10.1080/01933920600918808.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay about Incest
  • Pros and Cons of Incest Essay
  • Incest Essay
  • Essay about Incest Is a Social Problem
  • Essay on Incest Red
  • Incest Taboo: Who You Are and Where You Are Essay
  • Essay about Case Study Ethical Reporting of Incest
  • Sibling Rivalry Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free