043: Childhood Sexual Abuse with Dr. Barbara Morrell

This interview was broadcasted on Mormon Stories in October of 2011.  

??????????Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Dr. Barbara Morrell — a licensed psychologist working in the Brigham Young University Counselling and Psychological Services. She divides her time between doing psychotherapy and coordinating the Stress Management and Biofeedback Services. Her interest in and experience with treating childhood sexual abuse began during her masters program in 1985 working as a volunteer counselor with AMACs (Adults Molested as Children). She received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from BYU in 1997 and wrote her dissertation on adult men who had been sexually abused as children. Barbara began working in the BYU Counseling Center in 1996 and for many years was the sexual assault liaison between the center and the University Police, county law enforcement, and other agencies. Students who had been sexually assaulted were referred directly to her for immediate help and ongoing therapy. Dr. Morrell has served two LDS missions, one to Taiwan at the normal missionary age, and 10 years later she took a leave of absence from her work as a high school counselor for a second mission to Geneva Switzerland. She loves teaching in the Church and loved working for two years as a temple worker in the Provo temple.

1 comment for “043: Childhood Sexual Abuse with Dr. Barbara Morrell

  1. Pondering
    September 16, 2014 at 6:46 am

    I really enjoyed this interview and I wanted to thank Dr. Morrell and Dr. Parker for taking the time to talk about this issue. Dr. Morrell thank you for all that you do to help these types of victims at BYU!!! You are wonderful!

    I agreed with almost everything that was said but it was not clear to me how a Bishop, parent, therapist or the victim should approach and handle the common problem of masturbation after abuse?

    In the interview it was clear that you should not push yourself to forgive the abuser before your are ready but what about pushing yourself to unsexualize yourself before you are ready or able? I was taught that masturbation was next to fornication in sinfulness, which is then next to murder, so how are young victims, who develop a problem with masturbation, supposed to deal with this aspect of the law of chastity? Their minds are not even fully developed or ready to handle being sexualized in the first place so I wonder how Bishops, parents, therapists or even victims can expect themselves to be ready or able to unsexualize themselves enough to completely stop masturbating or having thoughts about sex after abuse? I understand that for some people finding “their responsibility” in something like masturbation and overcoming it can be life changeling but I fear that for others it can be terribly devastating in an already devastating situation.

    I just wish it was more clear in church doctrine or policy what to expect of yourself or a loved one that has been sexually abused. I think possibly it could just be an individual process but I wish the law of chastity could be taught in a way that was even more sensitive to victims especially since there are so many. I think a lot of victims feel even more shame and self hatred when learning about this God given law than most Bishops, therapist or parents realize. It is not that I think the law of chastity is at all bad, I mean, for example, I know that if abusers followed it than there wouldn’t be childhood sexual abuse in the first place, but I think it can be hard for victims of CSA to internalize it in a healthy way and it wouldn’t hurt to make the youth pamphlets and policies on it even more sensitive and understanding for victims.

    Thanks again for the interview. It was wonderful.

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