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Title: The journey of listening to someone : therapists' meaning-making of the impact of working with sexual abuse survivor groups
Author: Toombes, Alexandra E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2685 6421
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2009
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Introduction The topic of study is concerned with the impact that working with sexual abuse survivor groups has on therapists. The existing literature primarily utilises quantitative methodologies and is, on the whole, concerned with the negative impact of trauma work. Previous studies have suggested that qualitative research exploring the experiences of therapists working in this field would provide a richer understanding of the potential impacts. The methodological limitations and shortcomings of the existing research base are addressed, specifically the lack of research on group therapists. Objectives This study aimed to provide a qualitative, phenomenological exploration of the impact that therapists state, working with sexual abuse survivor groups, has had on them. Design Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to conduct an in-depth study of a small sample of group therapists. Methods Multi-site ethics approval was gained to conduct the study within two local NHS trusts and an independent sector service. Therapists were selected using purposive sampling from these services. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five therapists who ran groups for adult survivors of sexual abuse. Verbatim transcripts were analysed using IPA. Results Two concurrent theme groups were described. Themes concerned with the impact that the work has on the therapists, were discussed under the headings ‘Sense of Responsibility’, ‘Impact’, ‘Protecting and Maintaining Sense of Self’, ‘Contradictions in Narratives’ and ‘Evolving Impact’. Furthermore, findings related to the aspects of working within a group setting, were titled ‘Unique Aspects of the Group Setting’ and ‘Group Milieu’. Discussion Therapists did not ascribe to having ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ impacts, but seemed to simultaneously experience both, having created meaning for the impact of the work. Furthermore, in contradiction to previous literature, the therapists felt that working in a group setting had less potential to traumatise the facilitators. Implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RC 321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry