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Title: The realities of caring : a qualitative exploration of mental health professionals' experience of working with survivors of trauma in Sri Lanka
Author: Satkunanayagam, Kuhan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 3981
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2008
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There is an increasing recognition of the transformative nature of trauma work and that individuals are changed by the work they do with survivors of trauma. For mental health professionals these changes could be both positive and negative. The present study engages in a qualitative exploration of the impact of working with survivors of trauma. More specifically it examines the professional and private experience of twelve mental health practitioners in their work with survivors of trauma in the on-going conflict situation and post-disaster setting of Sri Lanka. The aim is to provide some insight into our understanding of the psychological processes which determine and maintain effective coping strategies when working with survivors of trauma. Very little qualitative research has been carried out in this area, with most research investigating moderating factors in relation to "secondary trauma" using survey questionnaires and psychometric scales. Semistructured in-depth interviews were carried out with twelve native mental health professionals who had worked long-term with survivors of trauma in Sri Lanka. The data analysis followed the theoretical principles of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The main analytic focus was to look at the meaningfulness of trauma work for the participants from different perspectives. A second analytic focus was to explore some aspects of the social constructedness of the participants' 'talk' about trauma work. The four master themes that emerged collectively showed how working with survivors of trauma is conceptualised and experienced. The complexity of these factors is illustrated by various dialectical processes that seem to be in action in trauma work. Each of the four themes is also examined with respect to the use of discourses and practices located within specific social, cultural, historical, political and ideological contexts. These findings highlight the importance of raising awareness of the potentiality of both "secondary trauma" and the opportunities for "growth through adversity". The strategic role of reflective practice, selfcare and supervision are discussed with respect to their implication for Counselling Psychology. This study also considers the value of taking an authentic psycho-social framework with a focus on the wider realities of social and cultural dynamics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Coun.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available