24 Stages of Growth for Survivors of Incest/Sexual Abuse:
Developed by Karen Uson, M.A. Based on the work of John Dean, Ph.D.
"Outcome Milestones for Treatment Evaluations" Copyright 1980
I don't know how accurate this is, but it is interesting and somewhat
helpful to me. I'm also pretty sure that these stages don't happen in any
particular order or seperately either. We all are individuals and all heal
- I acknowledge that something terrible happened. I know it is not my
- I am aware on some level that something was done to me -- I was a victim
of incest or sexual abuse during my childhood.
- I recognize that I am, in fact, a survivor, in the sense that I am alive
and have chosen life over self-inflicted death.
- I recognize and begin to deal with feelings of being "contaminated" or
- I feel angry about being used and abused.
- I experience rage at my non-protecting parent (usually mother).
- I discuss the abuse thoroughly with therapist.
- I tell a non-family member who previously did not know.
- I tell a family member who previously did not know.
- I completely re-experience and begin to deal with feelings appropriate
for each incident of abuse.
- I begin to give up my sense of responsibility for the abuse occuring.
- I begin to recognize that I was probably acting appropriately at the
time the abuse occurred. (That is, my reactions were appropriate, the abuse
- I am able to diminish my resistance to talking about the abuse,
although maybe not the details of it, with others.
- I am able to understand how the molestation has affected my current
relationships and behavioral patterns.
- If there was a part of the molestation that was sexually pleasurable to
me, I am coming to terms with the fact of that pleasure and I am dealing
with the guilt surrounding it.
- If there were aspects of the molestation that I perceived as positive
(such as a feeling of being special in the family) I am beginning to
understand and deal with these feelings.
- I perceive the connection between the molestation and current
relationships and am developing some control around the connection.
- I recognize that I have a choice as to whether or not I confront my
- I am beginning to understand what I desire from relationships, whether
sexual or non-sexual.
- I am able to enjoy intimacy.
- I develop a sense of self and my self-esteem has increased.
- I develop a sense of being somewhat at ease with the subject of my
molestation and that of others.
- I recognize that I have a choice as to whether or not I forgive my
- I am in touch with past anger, but anger is not currently a constant
part of my feelings in such a way that it negatively influences my other
feelings, my functioning, and my relationships with others.