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Free Treatment for Survivors of Abuse

November 21, 2000|NANCY FORREST-YOSNOW

The ASTER Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to treating and preventing child abuse, now offers psychological treatment for parents who were themselves abused as children.

Foundation administrators are looking for prospective clients who are parents of children 10 years old or younger, who have childhood memories of sexual or physical abuse and who want help but cannot afford long-term therapy.

"The basic premise of this project is that treatment for abuse survivors is a primary means of preventing the intergenerational cycle of child abuse," said Bruce Gladstone, executive director of the Ojai-based foundation.

Gladstone, a clinical psychologist with 25 years' experience treating child abuse survivors, said parents with abuse histories who do not receive treatment are more likely to perform similar abuses on their own children or fail to protect their children from such abuse. Single mothers are particularly vulnerable in this regard, he said.

The foundation's new program will document the effects of two years of intensive group treatment for mothers by measuring improvement in their behavior and in the behavior of their children. There also will be follow-up sessions three to five years after treatment, Gladstone said.

Sheila McHenry-Worman, a licensed marriage and family therapist with 15 years' experience treating child abuse survivors, will be the treating therapist for the free project.

The program is currently accepting participants and will provide two years of counseling treatment at no cost to the clients selected.

The service will be offered at the Pacific Coast Counseling Center, 2443 Portola Road, Ventura. Anyone interested can call for an assessment interview, though limited openings are available.

For an interview and details about when treatment begins, call Gladstone at 645-9724.

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