Transformation in progress: The effects of trauma on the significant others of sexual abuse therapsts

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Psychotherapists’ effectiveness in working with survivors of sexual abuse is dependent on the quality of personal and professional support they access and use. This article drawing from a larger study focuses on the experience of the significant others of sexual abuse therapists. The literature on vicarious traumatisation has suggested that the support of significant others, or conversely the lack of it, is a key variable in how effectively counsellors approach and deal with the rigours of trauma related helping. Using in-depth interviews and a qualitative research methodology, twelve counsellor-participants six of whom were social workers, were interviewed for the wider study to elicit their views of the vicarious traumatisation framework and the impact of the work on intimacy and relationships. The significant others reported that their relationships with the counsellor-participants were transformed over time as different personal priorities and values to their own, were identified.


School of Allied Health

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Journal Article

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ERA Access