An exploration of the experience of women attending a specialist psychotherapy service for survivors of childhood sexual abuse

Williams, R. (2017). An exploration of the experience of women attending a specialist psychotherapy service for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

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Abstract

For most survivors of childhood sexual abuse (“CSA”), seeking and receiving help to manage their difficult experiences of abuse are known to be complex, long and a difficult process (Gavey, 2003; Frenken & Van Stock, 1990). The experience of using such services has seldom been explored from a survivor’s perspective (Chouliara et al., 2012). The aim of this study is to explore in depth the lived experience of women attending a specialist psychotherapy service for survivors of CSA. The essence was to capture the women’s experience while attending a specialist psychotherapy service for CSA and the meaning they make of their experience, as well as implications this may have on their current lives. This study uses a qualitative research design paradigm. The data was collected from a small sample of women attending a UK National Health Service (“NHS”) specialist service for survivors of CSA. Semi-structured interviews were employed to gather information from participants. The accumulated data was analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (“IPA”). The three super-ordinate themes that emerged from the data included: Forming the Therapeutic Alliance, The Therapeutic Journey and Experience of Finding Their Voice. The narratives within these themes revealed the therapeutic journey which first began with the difficulties they first encountered when they felt misattuned with their therapist, continued to the forming of the therapeutic alliance, and through to the ending of the therapy relationship, drawing light on some interesting findings within each of these stages of the therapeutic process. Implications for the clinical practice of Counselling Psychology, limitations of this study, as well as recommendations for future research are considered within.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/18040

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