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Experience of therapy following interpersonal trauma: a counselling psychology perspective

Burelomova, A. (2017). Experience of therapy following interpersonal trauma: a counselling psychology perspective. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University, London)


This study explores women’s experiences of therapy for victims of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) within a specialist Domestic Violence service. It aims to shed light on the lived experiences of the women and their perspectives on therapy. The research took a form of a qualitative enquiry. Due to the sensitive nature of the topic, the multifaceted nature of IPV, the researcher’s epistemological position, and the relative lack of qualitative research on the topic, it was deemed appropriate to remain rooted to the participants’ experiences. Eight women with the experience of exposure to IPV who have undergone therapy for victim-­‐survivors of IPV within the specialist Domestic Violence service took part in this study. Individual semi-­‐ structured interviews were conducted to gain insight into participant’s experiences of therapy within the service, and these interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and Visual Methods. Derived from the IPA is the over-­‐arching theme ‘recovery as a process’, with four inter-­‐related constituent themes: ‘abuse as disintegrating the self’, ‘oblivion of abuse and awakening’, ‘therapy as a journey of empowerment’ and ‘therapy as a continuous experience’. Each constituent theme consists of a number of different sub-­‐themes. Derived from the analysis of the drawings are researchers interpretations of participants’ representation of their experiences of therapy as a part of their journey towards recovery. These findings are presented through four points of reference: ‘recovery as a process’, ‘therapy as a transforming experience’, ‘therapy as a safe place’, and ‘therapy as a process’. The findings are considered in relation to the wider literature, including theoretical models and empirical studies. Links, consistencies, disparities and controversies are discussed. Potential implications for research and practice are addressed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
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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