Purple Flower



Reading the Child Within: How Bibliotherapy Can Help the Victim of Child Sexual Abuse:  Journal of Child Sexual Abuse

Agnes Wohl & Gregory W. Kirschen

Published August 2019

ABSTRACT Bibliotherapy, the use of storytelling as part of the healing process, has been successfully incorporated into clinical practice for a variety of indications including psychological trauma, for children and adults. This therapeutic modality, which incorporates mindful meditation, non-threatening use of metaphor, and autonomic regulation, can help children and adults alike, who are willing to engage in a story. Yet, bibliotherapy has not been widely adapted as a routine part of the therapeutic toolbox in the context of sufferers of childhood sexual abuse. Here, we review current practices regarding the adjunctive use of bibliotherapy for victims of child sexual abuse, touch upon the theoretical basis of bibliotherapy, and lay out a number of readily-useable strategies for implementing bibliotherapy in one’s practice.


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Fawn’s Touching Tale: A Story for Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused (Help for Sexually Abused Children) 

by Agnes Wohl (Author), Irene Wineman Marcus (Author), Jackie Bluzer (Illustrator)

Published June 2018

Introduction to Parents, School Personnel, and Psychotherapists: There are many books aimed at the prevention of sexual abuse; few storybooks are geared for children that deal with the profound emotional aftermath. This book is unique because it offers the use of engaging animal protagonists, which allows the child to work through painful emotions in a less threatening and more effective manner. Among the most universal issues for the sexually abused child are: the mixed feelings toward the abuser, the dread and wish to be loved, the difficulties of disclosing the abuse, the fear of being blamed, and/or of not being believed. The effects frequently culminate in a sense of vulnerability, damaged self-esteem, guilt, and faulty defenses against the feelings of being hurt. This can lead to a wide range of self-destructive behavior in childhood and adulthood. This gentle, “child-friendly”, animal tale provides children with a story they can listen to again and again. Parents, psychotherapists, and school professionals can use this book as a point of entry into complex feelings that the youngster or any sexually abused person might experience. Our hope is that with the help of this book, the child will begin the process of healing and gradual resumption of his or her healthy psychological development.



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Betrayal of the Body: Group Approaches to Hypo-Sexuality for Adult Female Sufferers of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Agnes Wohl & Gregory W. Kirschen

Published March 2018

ABSTRACT Hypo-sexuality, self-reported hypoactive sexual desire and/or sexual aversion, is a common symptom experienced by women who were victims of childhood sexual abuse. This symptom may be distressing to the patient herself, and may place strain on her romantic relationships in adulthood. Unfortunately, this problem often remains undiscussed between patient and provider, in part due to the provider’s lack of comfort or knowledge regarding how best to address this issue. In this article, we explore several strategies that providers may employ in a group setting in order to help women realize their sexuality while minimizing untoward side effects such as feelings of guilt or shame, or flashbacks. We highlight the merits of each technique, and provide insights from clinical experience to guide practitioners to help their patients facing this difficult issue.


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Group Psychotherapy for Psychological Trauma Edited by Robert Klein and Victor Schermer (2000)

  • Chapter 3.  Management of Trauma Related Affect, Defenses, And Dissociative States Elizabeth Hegeman and Agnes Wohl

This essential volume is designed to help practitioners create, initiate, and maintain therapy for traumatized individuals. Facilitating the creation of a safe and effective healing environment for particularly vulnerable clients, this book is invaluable reading for practitioners interested in setting up trauma groups or those in the field.

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Casualties of Childhood: A Developmental Perspective on Sexual Abuse Using Projective Drawings by Agnes Wohl & Bobbie Kaufman (April 1992)

Against the backdrop of powerful case vignettes and their accompanying House, Tree, Person, and Kinetic Family Drawings.  The discussion focuses primarily on the essential link between childhood sexual abuse and specific developmental problems. Given that sexual abuse is commonly directed toward latency-age young people, it is imperative that this connection be given greater emphasis in the literature. The book represents an important step in that direction. In sum, the authors bring to life the full dimension of sexual victimization, its meaning, and consequences for the individual, the family, and by extension, the society. For therapists of all persuasions, it is a much-needed resource.

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Silent Screams and Hidden Cries: An Interpretation of Artwork by Children from Violent Homes by Agnes Wohl & Bobbie Kaufman (January 1992)

This poignant volume presents the first study of drawings of elementary school-age children who have lived with domestic violence and who have, in many cases, been themselves the victims of violence. Avoiding the sensationalism often associated with such matters, the authors remain compassionate, investigative, and insightful as they provide portraits of children who come from families suffering from severe dysfunction.

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Recent Articles

  • Reading the Child Within: How Bibliotherapy Can Help the Victim of Child Abuse: Journal of Child Sexual Abuse.

    • Agnes Wohl & Gregory W. Kirschen, Published August 2019

  • Respiratory Medicine Case Reports.   Successful use of guanfacine in a patient with chronic refractory cough: A case report.

    • Kirschen, GW, Kirschen H. Gabalski E, Waxner J, Wohl A., October 2017

  • Nassau Suffolk Clinical Society NewsletterSpeaking the Unspoken:  Treating the Sexual Dysfunction in Adults Sexually Abused As Children.

    • October 2017

  • Speaking The Unspoken:  Treating Sexual Dysfunction In Adults Sexually Abused As Children.

    • New York State Clinical Society Newsletter, Fall 2017

  • Group Psychotherapy for Psychological Trauma: Management of Trauma-Related Affect, Defenses, and the Dissociative States.

    • Guilford Press: 2000

  • Casualties of Childhood: A Development Perspective on Sexual Abuse Using Projective Drawing.

    • Brunner/Mazel: 1992

  • Child Witnesses of Spouse Abuse: A Study of Preschoolers. Poster Session

    • Presented at the American Ortho-psychiatric 62nd Annual Meeting. April 1985

  • Silent Screams and Hidden Cries: A Compilation and Interpretation of Artwork

    • by Children from Violent Homes. Brunner/Mazel, 1985


Ice Breaker Game for General Groups, Sexual Abuse, and Eating Disorders

Free group structured exercise for general groups, eating disorders, and sexual trauma.

Grade Levels

4th – 12th Grade, Adult Education



  • School Counseling

  • Psychology

  • School Psychology


Resource Type

  • Activities

  • FlashCards

  • Activboard Activities


Formats Included

  • PDF (16 pages)


Available at Teachers Pay Teachers