The management of sexual issues in adolescent treatment programs.

G. M. Realmuto, W. D. Erickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Disturbed adolescents confined to inpatient treatment settings present special problems for the management of sexual behaviors. Ego impaired, delinquent, and autonomy-seeking adolescents provoke unique conflicts among their peers and staff. Staff's sexual anxiety caused by societal stereotypes of adolescents, inexperience with the techniques of unbiased observation and limit-setting, ignorance of normal adolescent development, and countertransference may lead to inadequate or inappropriate interventions. The authors describe the goals of a training program to reduce staff sexual anxiety: to develop a body of knowledge about the interaction between normal sexual development and psychopathology; to promote awareness about the staff's own feelings and the ways they influence observation and interaction; to lessen anxiety about self-exposure in the group setting; and to gain mutual support. Specific guidelines regarding effective staff interventions at an individual and group level are described. Alertness to the broad implications of sexuality in staff and patients and the necessity for careful monitoring of ward anxiety is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-356
Number of pages10
Issue number82
StatePublished - Jun 1986


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