The purpose of the current project was to develop a webinar to support the training of mental health professionals to work competently with the widespread phenomenon of childhood sexual abuse. A review of the literature suggests that the scope of CSA is broad, however, there is much more to be known about the unique challenges families face as they support their affected child. Survey results gathered as part of this project revealed several trends: MHPs do not receive specialized training in CSA matters, MHPs feel unprepared for working with families of sexually abused children (FSAC), and various sociocultural factors potentially relevant to treating FSAC were identified. This project focused specifically on the needs of families of sexually abused children by creating an introductory webinar training for mental health professionals that presents information relevant to working with families of sexually abused children, with particular attention to sociocultural and strengths-based perspectives. After an introductory webinar was developed, evaluation of the webinar training content revealed that it is best suited for early-career MHPs. Evaluation of the webinar training further indicated it was informative, focused, specialized for FSAC, and beneficial. While several limitations have been identified, the study has broadened the scope of current training by emphasizing the importance of family systems, sociocultural, and strengths-based approaches in the treatment of child sexual abuse. Creating an introductory webinar resource for training MHPs working with FSAC is a preliminary step towards increasing the educational resources available online for this underserved population.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Child sexual abuse -- Psychological aspects; Psychologists -- Training of; Family psychotherapy

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Harrell, Shelly P.;