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Nov 27, 2013 12:43 AM by Sean Mooney

Kids held captive may have long road to recovery

TUCSON - As more details are revealed in the case of three young girls allegedly held captive in a midtown home, mental health experts are offering some insight into the possible mental effects the children may be suffering from after surviving the ordeal.

But with so little known at this point about why the young girls were being abused it is difficult for mental health care experts to evaluate the condition of the children. The girls, who lived in the house in the 2800 block of Estrella Ave., say the home was their prison for up to two years and tell of threats of violence, long term separation and filthy conditions.

Dr. Dennis Embry, has a degree in child developmental psychology, and says if the girls were held captive by their caregivers they were living in a very toxic environment, "Apparently figures parental figures people who are normally supposed to be taking care of you and protecting you are now you're jailers and your sources of threat so that's a very hazardous emotional condition for a child to be in and that will take off a bit of healing to recover from.

Dr. Embry says while the process may be a long one there are healthy ingredients involved in treatment that may help them heal including love and trust along with nurturing in, "food and fun and fellowship with other human beings are the possibilities for healing from those experiences, Embry said, "and not forcing the children over and over to relive what has happened to them."

Dr. Embry says another big part of the healing process will be to not treat the victims as if they are mentally ill, but rather as people that something bad happened to.

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