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McCallister, L. (2007). Response to Warshaw. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 6(4):353.

(2007). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 6(4):353

Response to Warshaw

Lynne McCallister


I AGREE WITH DR. SUSAN WARSHAW THAT IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO “distinguish actual events from metaphoric communication.” In my work with Annie, I would have been very relieved to find evidence suggesting that Annie's communications about the topic of oral rape were not based in real experience. One element that suggested Annie's ideas were likely to have been based in reality were her references to her own physical experience. For example, when she made “bad food,” saying they were “penises,” and told me the strings were “scary,” she also explained that they hurt her mouth and pointed to her throat. Later her mother reported that when Annie said her throat hurt at home, Annie pointed to the middle of her neck—a location that does not fit the usual sore throat, but would better match intrusion of a longer object such as a penis. Shortly after this, when Annie had just started working with me individually, she again talked about a penis in her mouth and when I asked how it felt, she said that it did not hurt but that it tasted bad. Annie's detailed and plausible description of her experience increases the likelihood that her description is accurate. However, I agree with Dr. Warshaw that we cannot be sure.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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