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How do Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Experience Formally Delivered Talking Therapy? A Systematic Review

Parry, SL and Simpson, J (2016) How do Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Experience Formally Delivered Talking Therapy? A Systematic Review. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. ISSN 1547-0679

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Abstract

This systematic review explored how adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse experienced non-specific and trauma-focused talking therapies. Following extensive systematic searches of academic databases, 23 qualitative empirical studies were chosen for review. Using a line-by-line thematic synthesis, four analytical themes developed. These themes were: The Therapeutic Process as a Means for Forming Connections, which discusses therapeutic relationships; Developing a Sense of Self through the Therapeutic Processes, identifying stages of developmental recovery; Therapeutic Lights and Black Holes in the Shadows of CSA, reflecting upon how a history of CSA influenced experiences of therapy; and Healing or Harrowing: connecting with others and first time experiences, exploring what was helpful, hindering, and new throughout the therapeutic journey. Findings related to participants developing new options for interpersonal relationships through the experience of authentic trust and the experiential learning of control and choice. Recommendations are discussed in relation to developing therapeutic practice and future research.

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