Normative Sexual Development and Behavior
(4 CEs)
Melinda Gronen, LCSW


4 CEs

Presented by: Melinda Gronen, LCSW

Recorded workshop available via video on demand


Description: This course is an applied examination of child sexuality for practicing mental health clinicians.  In the first half of the course, attendees will participate in learning about, and examining, the spectrum of normative sexual development in young children through adolescence. In the second half of the course, attendees will explore how to assess problematic sexual behaviors, sexually reactive behaviors as a trauma response, and the assessment of childhood sexual abuse. Specific attention will be paid to assessing and interpreting behaviors within the context of individual and family cultural components. Attendees will engage in developing trauma informed clinical practice that provides a safe emotional space for a child or adult to disclose a current/past history of sexual abuse or offending behaviors. Collaboration and advocacy with local systems that provide medical and forensic assessment of childhood sexual abuse and assess the safety of a child will be discussed. Cultural components and counter-transference that contribute to different presentations and interpretations of normal and abnormal sexual development will also be explored.  The course is a mixture of evidence based didactic material, small group work, case studies, videos, and discussion.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain normal sexual behaviors in children age 0-12 years of age.
  • Describe normal sexual behaviors in children ages 13-18, including consensual sexual activity.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking related to the impact of culture on normative child sexual development.
  • Summarize how same sex attraction and gender identity exploration is part of the normal sexual development of children.
  • Describe the incidence of child sexual abuse and the impact on mood, behavior, and mental health.
  • Describe power dynamics seen in childhood sexual abuse, the profile of a sexual abuse offender, and problematic sexual behaviors across developmental stages in childhood.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in using a child sexual abuse assessment tool to assess ecological system of the child including cultural presentations.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of confidentiality, ethical practice, and practice utilizing medical, DCFS, and police systems to intervene when there are suspicions of child sexual abuse.

Activity Schedule:

30 min-Get settled, Intros, Ice Breaker

2.5 hrs-Language and Gender Spectrum

1 hr-Lunch

1.5 hrs-Intersectional Identities, Privilege, and Bias

1 hr- Coming Out

15 min-Break

45 min- Decisions and Coping around HRT and Surgery

30 min- Forms, Procedures, Atmosphere, Support Staff

30 min-Next steps in Learning

30 min-Wrap up, Questions, Evaluations

Speaker Bio:
Melinda Gronen, M.A. is a licensed clinical social worker who received her Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago in 2000. Melinda spent 10 years performing forensic child abuse assessments as part of the multi-disciplinary Protective Services Team at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Melinda is currently the owner of Melinda Gronen Counseling, LLC where she specializes in providing counseling for adults and children who have experienced trauma as well as Caped Crusader Consulting, where she provides trainings at organizations across the country in the area of child maltreatment and trauma. Melinda is a contract therapist in community schools working with children impacted by traumatic loss and community violence. Additionally, Melinda is an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Jane Addams College of Social Work, Erikson Institute, and the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.

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