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The experience of therapy among women survivors of childhood sexual abuse: An Interpretive Phonomenological Analysis

Mrkaljevic, A. (2017). The experience of therapy among women survivors of childhood sexual abuse: An Interpretive Phonomenological Analysis. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, Universtiy of London)


This study set out to explore the experience of psychological therapy amongst women survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. The aim is to give a voice to survivors’ unique experiences of therapy, in order to better meet the multifaceted needs of survivors and to inform policies and clinical practice.

The research utilised a qualitative form of enquiry, in order to stay rooted in the participants’ experience. Six women who had experienced sexual abuse in childhood, and who had undergone therapy for the effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse took part in this study. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted in order to gain insight into participants’ experiences of therapy, and the data was analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. The findings demonstrated that there were four superordinate themes related to participants’ therapy experiences: ‘The help-seeking journey’, ‘Development of the therapeutic alliance”, ‘Salient therapeutic experiences’, as well as ‘Healing as a process’. Additionally, each superordinate theme consisted of a number of sub-themes. The findings are considered in relation to the wider literature. Potential implications for clinical practice and polices are addressed, and suggestions for further research are provided.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Publisher Keywords: childhood sexual abuse, adult, women, survivors, psychological therapy, counselling, experiences, perspectives
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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