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Navigating Treatment Impasses at the Disclosure of Incest: Combining Ideas from Feminism and Social Constructionism


  • I wish to thank Norma Akamatsu, Virginia Goldner, William Lax, and Peter Steinglass for their useful suggestions on earlier drafts of this article.


This article describes an approach to the social and emotional schisms that characterize the disclosure of intrafamilial sexual abuse (incest). It argues that ideas from social constructionism and feminism can be combined in such a way that what appear as either/or choices become both-and possibilities. These include: social control versus therapy, shame versus pride, attachment to one's abusive partner versus attachment to one's injured child, and “justice” versus “care.”