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Adopting a model of personally meaningful recovery places demands on the therapeutic relationship, on clinical governance and supervision of clinicians. The recovery journey from childhood sexual abuse (CSA) starts at the point of disclosure. Findings support the use of shame-based and compassion-focused interventions with CSA survivors.
Research on survivors' experiences of recovering from childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has been limited and focused on those with severe mental health difficulties. This study elicited experiences of recovery from CSA in male and female survivors who have/have not utilized mental health services. The tangible end-point was to propose a theoretical model of personally meaningful recovery. This is a qualitative study, which utilized semi-structured individual interviews following the critical incident technique. Transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to identify recurrent themes. A total 22 adult survivors of CSA. Main themes identified were: The Affected Self, Factors Hindering Recovery, Factors Enhancing Recovery, The Hurdles of Recovery and the Recovering Self. The affected self included: lack of boundary awareness and self-blame, over self-reliance, over-vigilance and guilt, shame, aloneness and social stigma. The recovering self was characterized by increasing confidence, assertiveness, ability to self-care and self-acceptance, and by embracing vulnerability. These findings have potentially major implications for clinical practice, service provision, policy development and professional training in this field. The importance of disclosure in the healing process seemed paramount and can have major implications for current service protocols.
University of Edinburgh, School of Health in Social Sciences & NHS Tayside.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing
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Persons who were child victims of violence and abuse including physical, sexual, or emotional maltreatment.
Sexual maltreatment of the child or minor.
Professionals qualified by education at an accredited school of nursing and licensed by state law to practice nursing. They provide services to patients requiring assistance in recovering or maintaining their physical or mental health.
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The practice of indulging in sexual relations for money.
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