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:

9-9:30-Get settled, Intros, Ice Breaker

9:30-12-Language and Gender Spectrum


1-2:30-Intersectional Identities, Privilege, and Bias

2:30-3:30- Coming Out


3:45-4:30- Decisions and Coping around HRT and Surgery

4:30-5- Forms, Procedures, Atmosphere, Support Staff

5-5:30-Next steps in Learning

5:30-6-Wrap up, Questions, Evaluations