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Stages of Change Theory in Family Therapy for Sibling Sexual Assault

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2012

Elizabeth McNevin*
Queensland Association of Family Therapy, Brisbane
Address for correspondence: Elizabeth McNevin, PO Box 8218, Woolloongabba QLD 4102, Australia. Email:
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Family therapy understands the benefits of therapeutically supported dialogue amongst family members when there are challenging themes and topics that need to be discussed. This paper is an attempt to explore ways that family therapists can work with family members who are thrust into therapy rather than ‘voluntarily’ signing up for it. It applies ideas from the drug and alcohol field such as Stages of Change theory and Motivational Interviewing. The paper explores how these ideas and approaches might help family therapists to formulate a concept of resistance and to make helpful dialogue more likely. They are applied to families experiencing sibling sexual assault, where they become involved with a legal response that necessitates a therapeutic intervention.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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