Understanding covert and emotional incest

Psychologist Kenneth M. Adams, PhD explains covert and emotional incest, and how inappropriate emotional relationships with one's parents can be damaging
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Understanding covert and emotional incest

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There's a term called covert incest that's used synonymousously with the term emotional incest, which has been studied more recently by clinicians including myself as a issue in family systems in which the parent relationship, the parental relationship is not working well, and one of the kids becomes the surrogant husband or the surrogant wife to one of the parents, and the parents begin to turn to the child in a way that treats them like a romantic partner telling them about their frustrations romantically, even sexually, you know? Being jealous if they have a girlfriend or a boyfriend and there becomes a set of relating to the child, sort of dynamics between the child. It feels more like romantic partners than it does parent child relationship and even though there is not physical sexual contact, the child often feels intruded on sexually, icky, too close. I don't want to know all that, you know? I don't want to have to zip up my mothers dress and, you know, hang out with my fathers friends when they're talking about women, you know? So there's an ickiness that's caught up in the relationship that the child begins to feel that we use the term cpvert or emotional incest to describe that the relationship feels incestuous even t hough there's no direct sexual contact.

Psychologist Kenneth M. Adams, PhD explains covert and emotional incest, and how inappropriate emotional relationships with one's parents can be damaging

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Kenneth M. Adams, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D., CSAT, is a Licensed Psychologist, the Clinical Director and Founder of Kenneth M. Adams and Associates in suburban Detroit, Michigan, as well as a faculty member at the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals. As previous Clinical Director for the Life Healing Center in Sante Fe, New Mexico, a residential treatment center for trauma and addiction, Dr Adams created the first inpatient program exclusively for partners of sex addicts. In addition to maintaining an active clinical practice, Dr. Adams is a national lecturer, workshop leader, and consultant in the areas of child abuse, dysfunctional family systems, and sex addiction. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, the books Silently Seduced and When He’s Married to Mom, as well as co-editor of Clinical Management of Sex Addiction. In 2011, Dr Adams received the “Carnes Award” for “outstanding work in the field of sexual addiction and compulsivity”. He is a certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), a CSAT supervisor, and CSAT training facilitator as well as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner. Dr. Adams is a member of the American Psychological Association, Michigan Psychological Association, Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), and International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) as well as an advisory board member to SASH and IITAP, and an editorial board member of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. For more on Dr Adams visit www.drkenadams.com.

 

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