Falsely Accused Clergy in Therapy: A Case Study

Main Article Content

Erica Danya Goldblatt Hyatt

Keywords

false accusation; child sexual abuse; faith-adapted cognitive behavioral therapy; clergy; religion

Abstract

Abstract


The purpose of this paper is to provide a case study exploring an integrated trauma-informed, cognitive, and religiously-based approach to working with clergy who have been falsely accused of child sexual abuse (CSA). In the wake of numerous reports of sexual misconduct (PBS.org), scholars have explored the factors that may contribute to this morally reprehensible behavior (Death, 2018). Research has focused on the structural and systemic issues, reporting, and clergy reactions to CSA (Death, 2018; Harper, 2018; Longwood, 2018) but does not account for how clinical social workers may approach treatment with the falsely-accused. While in no way denouncing or placing doubt upon the victims of clergy CSA, this case study attempts to contribute to the literature by providing a description of the presentation, symptoms, and treatment of a pastor seeking therapy from a similarly religiously-oriented clinician following an accusation from which the accuser recanted and no charges were pressed. 


 

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