The Incest Unit was established in 1998 by staff members of Shiluv Institute as a response to the increase in treatment referrals of families that were trying to cope with this difficult problem. It was clear that our cases of incest required a specialized unit that could deal with the specific treatment needs of this population and use the most appropriate and effective treatment methods. Our work in the unit extends even further the systems vision we hold at Shiluv for understanding and treating problems in family connections and structure. We treat every family member who is willing to engage in therapy, insofar as this is appropriate and possible, including the victim, perpetrator and other family members. Our approach is based upon a recognition of the centrality of the family, on one hand in the development of the environment in which the abuse was perpetrated, and on the other hand, in the process of creating deep healing for all family members. We have learned that in many cases, it is possible to bring families who have experienced this terrible trauma to a place of healthy functioning that contributes greatly to long lasting healing and recovery. We have seen many times that it is possible for families to exit the chasm of shame and pain and to enter a place of hope. When a family is consistently engaged in treatment and completes a deep therapeutic process, there is a greater chance for victims to feel a renewed belonging and connection to the family. Victims also benefit from finally feeling the empathy and protection from their family members, which they need so desperately. In addition, the danger of repeated abuse is reduced significantly, both in the present and in future generations. A common question we receive: Is the therapy done with all the family members together? And the answer: No. At least not in the beginning of treatment and possibly not at all. A systems view of family therapy takes into account the structure and relationships within the family, evaluates the strengths in the family, and invests in fortifying them. In this type of family therapy, we work individually with the victim(s), other family members, and, if possible, with the perpetrator(s). Only when it is deemed clinically appropriate do we have family therapy sessions that include all family members. And these meetings are all conducted keeping the emotional safety and protection of the victim(s) in mind and only when appropriate to his/her needs, strengths, and readiness. The uniqueness of our work lies in the intensive and in-depth collaborative work among members of a professional team of specialists in this specific type of treatment. The therapy with most families includes several therapists who work together with each other while caring for their individual clients within the family system. As part of the rehabilitation of the family system, we emphasize the importance of cooperation among all the therapists as well as with professionals outside of Shiluv who are involved with the family. Examples include child welfare social workers, probation officers, and therapists from other agencies.
The Shiluv Institute, observes all legal requirements regarding the reporting of child abuse. Professional Contributions of Shiluv to the Field of Incest Treatment
• Article detailing the theoretical and clinical practice model that was developed by the staff of the Incest Unit. (Goldstein, A., and Katz-Charny, J., 2004).
• Article detailing the use of video for the purpose of strengthening victims, for the the development of empathy toward them, and to help rebuild the relational system in the family. (Katz-Charny and Goldstein, 1997).
• “Open Cards” Therapeutic cards (2011) . A new tool for therapists developed for the purpose of helping the client family to begin to talk about the sexual abuse in a safe, non-threatening, non-judgmental atmosphere. LINK TO “OPEN CARDS”
• Educational film: “From the Chasm to Hope”. For professionals to learn the Shiluv model of treatment for sexual abuse within the family. Produced by The Shiluv Institute, Professional Publications of Incest Unit Therapists
• Goldstein, A. and Katz-Charny, J. (2004), Therapy with Families That Have Experienced Incest, in Zeligman, Z. and Solomon, Z. (Eds.), The Secret and its Breaking: Issues in Incest. Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad/Adler Center, Tel Aviv University. pp. 278-301. (Hebrew)