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Behav Cogn Psychother. 2013 May;41(3):371-5. doi: 10.1017/S1352465812000896. Epub 2012 Dec 11.

Treating the psychological sequelae of proactive drug-facilitated sexual assault: knowledge building through systematic case based research.

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  • 1Rhodes University, Psychology Department, Eastern Cape 6140, South Africa. a.unni@ru.ac.za

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) has emerged as a distinct category of sexual victimization and precipitates posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Few studies have examined the distinct psychological aspects of PTSD caused by DFSA. Gauntlett-Gilbert, Keegan and Petrak (2004) represent a notable exception and draw on cases, from their clinical experience, treated using Ehlers and Clarks' (2000) cognitive therapy (CT).

AIMS:

This paper aims to further develop and refine clinical knowledge on CT for PTSD arising from DFSA and advance the findings of Gauntlett-Gilbert et al. (2004).

METHOD:

Systematic case based research was used to investigate the applicability of CT for PTSD related to DFSA. Three survivors were treated with CT within the South African context.

RESULTS:

The case series corroborated existing findings but also documented the presence of somatic and visual intrusions among survivors with partial or complete amnesia for rape and illustrated the utility of imagery interventions in targeting intrusions. The study highlighted the role of physical paralysis in DFSA in compounding helplessness/powerlessness and the necessity of enhancing physical agency and building social support.

CONCLUSION:

Distinctive aspects of PTSD related to DFSA can be effectively treated by adapting CT to suit this population group.

PMID:
23228526
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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