Treatment for survivors of domestic violence has traditionally followed the feminist model of empowerment (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV); Jones & Schechter, 1992) offering resources, hotlines and shelters to assist women and their children in emergency situations. The model stresses support, validation and psycho-education. The main focus of psychotherapy for survivors of domestic violence has been reducing the negative effects of having experienced abuse, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Cognitive behavioral group therapy models have been found to be effective in treating this population (Kubany, Hill & Owens, 2003; Kubany, et al., 2004; Johnson & Zlotnick, 2009; Iverson, Shek & Fruzzetti, 2009).
The current study explored posttraumatic growth, a possible positive consequence of trauma. Sixteen female survivors of domestic violence participated in a five-session group intervention modeled after Nelson’s (2011) posttraumatic growth path (PTGP) curriculum. Posttraumatic growth has been defined as transforming negative effects of traumatic situations into positive meanings (Tedeschi and Calhoun, 1996). Participants’ post-treatment ratings on four measures: Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist, Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile and Outcome Rating Scale showed a reduction in negative symptoms and increases in signs of positive growth as compared with their ratings prior to participating in the group sessions. A narrative feminist analysis of the themes discussed by participants during the group sessions indicated that participants were able to identify strengths and other positive aspects in themselves as consequences of having survived the abuse. That recognition seemed to encourage and enable them to take positive actions. These findings suggest that participation in a brief structured therapy group aimed at exploring and eliciting posttraumatic growth can serve as a springboard for survivors of domestic violence to find positive aspects of having endured an abusive relationship and to take positive steps in their lives. This approach can complement and enhance traditional domestic violence treatments that target trauma symptom reduction.
|Commitee:||Nelson, Stephanie, Ossege, Jennifer, Scott, Jennifer|
|School:||Union Institute and University|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-B 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Psychology, Clinical psychology|
|Keywords:||Healing, Intimate partner violence, Trauma|
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