Working with Children with Sexual Behavior Problems

Eliana Gil and Jennifer A. Shaw

Hardcovere-bookprint + e-book
October 3, 2013
ISBN 9781462511976
Price: $38.00
224 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
October 3, 2013
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $38.00
224 Pages
print + e-book
Hardcover + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $76.00 $41.80
224 Pages
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Based on extensive clinical experience, this book provides authoritative guidance and practical tools in a challenging area for child mental health professionals. The authors explain the many possible causes of problem sexual behaviors and demonstrate assessment and treatment procedures that have been shown to work with 4- to 11-year-olds and their families. Four chapter-length case examples illustrate how to integrate elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy, play and expressive therapies, and family-based approaches. Helpful reproducible worksheets and forms can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8½“ x 11” size.

“Gil and Shaw have provided a valuable resource for professionals intervening with children who engage in sexually abusive behaviors. Their comprehensive assessment model is based on an understanding of normative and problematic behaviors and takes into account family dynamics and history of trauma. The book shows how to open up communication among parents, children, and therapists, giving them a common language and road map for changing behaviors. Concrete case examples emphasize the need for direct parental involvement in establishing a safe, structured environment for all family members.”

—Beth Iddings Janik, Sexual Abuse Unit Supervisor (retired), Department of Family Services, Fairfax County, Virginia

“As practitioners increasingly see younger and younger children with a variety of sexual behavior problems, we have to be especially judicious in how we conceptualize these behaviors and deliver targeted interventions. This wonderful book helps professionals understand the complex dynamics that underlie these behaviors. It also offers a very insightful discussion of the challenges posed by the ever more sexualized climate that permeates children's lives. Gil and Shaw outline a creative, strengths-based model for evaluation and treatment. Whether you are an experienced professional or a developing clinician, you will learn how to approach this work in sensitive, practical, and contextually informed ways.”

—Lisa Hunt, LPC, LMFT, Center for Clinical and Forensic Services, Fairfax, Virginia

“There continues to be confusion regarding sexual behavior problems in children, despite the research that has been conducted over the past decade. This book is a major contribution to clinical assessment and treatment of children presenting with these issues. The case examples are excellent. The volume is carefully organized and provides important information for both mental health and child protection professionals. As a clinician, consultant, and trainer in this field, I highly recommend this book.”

—Geraldine Crisci, MSW, private practice, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Table of Contents

1. Children with Sexual Behavior Problems: An Introduction

2. Differentiating Normative Childhood Sexuality from Sexual Behavior Problems

3. The Climate of Childhood Sexualization

4. Assessment of Young Children with Sexual Behavior Problems

5. Consensus-Based Treatment Areas and Suggestions for Work with Primary Caregivers

6. The Boundary Project Model

7. The Case of Kayla

8. The Case of Thomas

9. The Case of Jenna

10. The Case of Lorenzo



About the Authors

Eliana Gil, PhD, is founding partner of the Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, a private group practice in Fairfax, Virginia. She is also Director of Starbright Training Institute for Child and Family Play Therapy. Dr. Gil has worked in the field of child abuse prevention and treatment since 1973. A licensed marriage, family, and child counselor; an approved marriage and family therapy supervisor; a registered art therapist; and a registered play therapy supervisor, she is a former President of the Association for Play Therapy, which honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the author of The Healing Power of Play, Helping Abused and Traumatized Children, and Play in Family Therapy, Second Edition, among many other publications. Originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador, Dr. Gil is bilingual and bicultural.

Jennifer A. Shaw, PsyD, is a founding partner of the Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, and has worked in a number of clinical settings and capacities in metropolitan Washington, D.C. She provides individual, family, and group therapy to children and adolescents with sexual behavior problems, depression, anxiety, adjustment problems, and complex trauma. She has been the coordinator of the Boundary Project family-based program in two clinical settings: Childhelp Children's Center of Virginia and the Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education. Dr. Shaw has acquired specialized training and certification in conducting psychosexual risk assessments and treating sexual offending behaviors in adolescents and adults, and is currently working toward certification as a registered play therapist. Dr. Gil and Dr. Shaw are coauthors of A Book for Kids about Private Parts, Touching, Touching Problems, and Other Stuff.


Child psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, play and art therapists, counselors, child welfare professionals, and school psychologists.

Course Use

Child psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, play and art therapists, counselors, child welfare professionals, and school psychologists. May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.