A fascinating Q&A with the pioneering clinician who helped define covert incest.

Back in the 1980s I became involved personally with the Adult Children of Alcoholics movement, and then, professionally, I began to treat adult children of alcoholics. What I found was that a lot of these people had played the role of surrogate husband or wife to a distraught parent as a result of the other parent’s alcoholism. I noticed that story unfolding repeatedly, and I began to write about it. I also noticed a strong connection between this early-life enmeshment and adult-life sexual acting out. I published the first article on this in 1987. And of course I started looking into this more deeply, creating surveys and doing some research to find the patterns and connections.


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