An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Counselling Psychology Trainees’ Experiences of Working with Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Gilmour, Amy (2015) An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Counselling Psychology Trainees’ Experiences of Working with Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

GilmourAmy.pdf - Published Version

Download (5MB) | Preview

Abstract / Description

Background: In view of the estimation that around one fifth of individuals abused in childhood will develop psychological difficulties which require professional input there is a high chance that counselling psychology trainees will encounter adult survivors in their practice. Counselling psychology trainees are continuously faced with philosophical and practical challenges when they seek to integrate psychological models into their practice. The critical literature review discusses the contentions regarding the most appropriate therapeutic approach when working with this client group, alongside maintaining the focus of therapeutic relationship. The review also explores the risk to clients of re-traumatisation through poorly conducted therapeutic interventions. In addition, potential risks to trainees have also been discussed such as difficult affective reactions or vicarious traumatisation.

Aims: A lack of research was identified with regards to exploration of trainees’ internal experiences of working with this client group leading to the research question: How do counselling psychology trainees experience working with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse?

Methodology: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six trainee counselling psychologists enrolled on BPS Accredited Counselling Psychology Doctoral courses, who had experience of working with adult survivors of CSA. The transcripts of the interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).

Results: From the analysis the following three key super-ordinate themes were developed: balancing the power dynamic in therapeutic relationship; management of vicarious emotional state of self; questioning competent versus incompetent self as therapist.

Findings: The study identified clinical implications to develop further understanding and requirements for trainee counselling psychologists in relation the superordinate themes. Furthermore, an important limitation from the study was identified with regards to the inclusion of only one male participant. This highlighted the issue of gender differences between client and therapist; however, it underlined an important area requiring further study.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: childhood sexual abuse; adult survivors; psychological difficulties; counselling psychology; Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)
Subjects: 600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2016 16:59
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2021 16:04


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item