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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.
This article considers the impact on and therapeutic responses to families where there has been intra-familial sexual assault (IFSA) by an adolescent member of the family against another younger member of the family. In doing so, the article will specifically highlight the nexus between systemic family therapy ideas and an applied restorative justice response in the form of Youth Justice Conferencing (YJC), as experienced through working as a family therapist in the area of adolescent sexual offending.
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