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A Helping Hand: An Investigation into the Effects of Counselling Domestic Abuse Victims on the Mental Wellbeing of Counselling Psychologists and Psychotherapists.

Carline, Lyndsay (2018) A Helping Hand: An Investigation into the Effects of Counselling Domestic Abuse Victims on the Mental Wellbeing of Counselling Psychologists and Psychotherapists. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This qualitative investigation focused on the experiences of qualified counsellors and psychotherapists providing therapy to domestic violence victims, with emphasis on both the negative and positive reactive symptoms associated with this type of counselling. It aimed to investigate the effects of the interaction on the mental wellbeing of the service provider. This research aimed to expand the literature on vicarious traumatisation, secondary traumatic stress and burnout among domestic violence therapists due to the relatively small quantity of qualitative studies on this phenomena; within domestic violence, conducted in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, the researcher also aimed to provide insight into how participants coped with any negative symptoms in order to perhaps help inform and update effective coping and protective factors.The researcher recruited four qualified counsellors to complete semi-structured interviews regarding their experiences of providing domestic violence therapy. These consisted of three females and one male with experience ranging from four to nine years. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was conducted to identify both positive and negative themes from the data and investigate the possible prevalence of vicarious trauma, secondary trauma stress and burnout. All participants reported vicarious trauma and secondary traumatic stress to some extent and that all participants showed evidence of experiencing burnout. The themes that emerged from the analysis were emotional strain, vicarious trauma, powerlessness and meaning in life.Limitations of the study, implications for future research and the researcher’s reflectivity in conducting the study.

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