Adult survivors' of childhood sexual abuse perspectives of services: a systematic review

Zoë Chouliara*, Thanos Karatzias, Georgia Scott-Brien, Anne Macdonald, Juliet MacArthur, Norman Frazer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: This review summarises and evaluates evidence regarding psychotherapy/counselling services for childhood sexual abuse (CSA) from the survivors' perspective. Methods: Studies were identified from systematic literature searches of PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Collection. Selected studies were published in English after 1980. Results: Nine studies met the inclusion criteria for this review. Survivors identified a range of experiences of services. Positive experiences focused mainly on the therapeutic relationship, and the importance of awareness about issues specific to survivors. Negative experiences included taking a sexual interest in clients, dealing ineffectively with errors, being unresponsive, and prescription of heavy medications. Conclusions: There is a lack of research in this area, especially in the UK. Findings were limited due to selection bias, inconsistencies in recruitment and procedure, ill-described samples and analysis. Future research should obtain survivors' perspectives across genders, sexual orientation and ethnic background, and focus more on survivors' negative experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-161
Number of pages16
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Issue number2
Early online date28 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Systematic review
  • Experiences
  • Adult survivors


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