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Addressing Patient Needs While Maintaining Boundaries: A Triggered Patient Seeks Physical Comfort

NCTSN Resource

Resource Description

Presents eleven-year-old Clara in her third treatment session, sharing about the first sexual abuse she experienced. Clara’s growing discomfort is evident as she describes her mother’s former live-in boyfriend, Michael, and how the abuse progressed. Clara becomes overtly distressed and leaps onto the therapist, embracing him. The therapist gently reestablishes physical boundaries and facilitates her diaphragmatic breathing. The scenario illustrates the complexity of the therapeutic relationship and the balance therapists must achieve for effectively supporting traumatized patients while also maintaining healthy boundaries.

Published in 2019

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