Our expert says:
Personally, I am concerned that too many psychologists use old-fashioned and disproved methods based on out-moded psychoanalytic theories, and are unhelpful to people with a prior history of abuse, by insisting on digging back archeologically into the past and the details of the abuse, though it is common experience that this is upsetting to the person, and there is NO good evidence that this actually helps them. ON the contrary, CBT type therapy focussing on the present --- on what conclusions they have drawn from their experiences in the past, including abuse, and how these affect them in the present, on how unrealistic or unhelpful these habits of thought and expectation may have become, and on testing and adopting new and more fruitful ways of relating to what happened in the past, are much more effective in helping people in such situations.
If her stepdad abused her that was wicked of him and ugly for her --- but she can now be responsible for how she chooses to live, and she need not give a wicked old man the continuing power to disturb and upset her.
The ethiocal question you ask is actually complex. Generally one expects shrinks to maintain confidentiality. But in this case your WIFE is the shrink's patient, to whom she owes a duty of confidentiality, and you are NOT her patient, and could be seen as simply providing her shrink with some information which the shrink could consider relevant to share with her, indeed that there was no point in your communicating with the shrink EXCEPT for her to use whatever information you supplied, within the therapy
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