Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Reading To Heal: A Bibliotherapeutic Approach To Sexual Assault Recovery
by Gray, Carolynn M., Psy.D., Alliant International University, San Francisco Bay, 2012, 271; 3529289
Abstract (Summary)

Research indicates at least one in six women in the United States will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Research also demonstrates survivors of sexual assault suffer severe psychological and emotional repercussions of their assault more frequently and more severely than with most other traumas. In particular, survivors of sexual trauma proceed through Rape Trauma Syndrome in which they cycle through three stages of healing and some may eventually feel resolution. During this process, survivors experience several key emotions: (a) denial, (b) fear, (c) guilt, (d) shame, (e) anger, and (f) depression. Despite this, there are few empirically-validated treatments for survivors of sexual assault. One area of psychological treatment that seems to have some potential for therapeutic utility with sexual assault survivors is the use of bibliotherapy – that is, having clients read books as a tool for healing. Thus, the purpose of this study was to develop a bibliotherapeutic program for sexual assault survivors to facilitate healing and improve understanding of Rape Trauma Syndrome.

The program created included an original novel which details the experiences of a young woman who is sexually assaulted and follows her through the beginning of her journey. Also included is a manual designed for the leader of a group intervention using the novel. This manual included instruction on fundamental structure and organization to facilitate ease of use of the program. The program was created using information and statistics available in the literature, and also the authors' own knowledge of the intricacies of sexual assault recovery.

This program was given to three experts in the field of sexual assault treatment; they evaluated the program for its potential utility and provided suggestions on ways to improve the program. Overall, results of this evaluation were positive, generally indicating optimism about the development of this program. Primarily, the evaluators only suggested minor and manageable changes, including some thoughts on future directions. The reviewers indicated that, following the completion of the suggested changes, they would support the use of this intervention with survivors in a controlled study of the program's efficacy. Limitations and additional future directions are also discussed.

Indexing (document details)
School: Alliant International University, San Francisco Bay
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Counseling Psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Bibliotherapy, Sexual assault recovery
Publication Number: 3529289
ISBN: 9781267654854
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