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Title: An exploration of triadic family relationships : a systemic-attachment perspective on the experiences of adolescents who self-harm and their parents
Author: Karamat Ali, Ramón
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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Self-harm as an expression of emotional pain and hurt is starting to become the consensus view amongst professionals. This present study explored how young people who self-harm and their parents experience the young person’s self-harm and how it affects the relationships in the family. The research was a case study with three families, each consisting of an adolescent and of their parents. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the lived experiences of each participant. In addition, relational scenarios and conjoint interviews were conducted with the parents. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. These sets of data were analysed in accordance with Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) guidance. The meta themes were presented in detail in the Findings section. The key themes for the adolescents were: Feeling Responsible and Self-Harm Creates Closeness. The main themes for the parents were: Feeling Emotionally Overwhelmed and the Impact on Couple Relationship. The individual and couple analyses were linked together to provide a family-based analysis of the data. The meta themes were linked with one another to acknowledge the pre-existing connections between different participants and to add a richer, systemic perspective to the results. Mutual influences of the different family members on each other were identified. The findings indicated that a young person’s self-harm can be seen to be part of triadic interactional processes within the family. The various layers of analysis were integrated which enabled a systemic and attachment based theoretical model to be proposed in relation to self-harm in the context of the family. Wider cultural perspectives were also considered in the way that they shaped the understandings and relationship strategies in how to deal with the self-harm. The proposed theoretical model is used to offer implications for therapeutic practice and recommendations for future research are suggested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available