Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Building Rapport with Childhood Sexual Abuse Victims from an Attachment Theory Perspective: A Qualitative Research Study
by Peters, Maria, Psy.D., Capella University, 2019, 160; 13879717
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation investigates rapport building with childhood sexual abuse (CSA) victims; specifically from an attachment theory perspective. CSA is an exceedingly traumatic experience that requires its victims to seek effective therapy to assist them in recovering from the abuse. Rapport building is a critical component in the treatment, engagement, and retention of CSA victims. While there has been a great deal of research conducted regarding rapport building in therapeutic relationships, there is little research that addresses rapport building from the perspective of John Bowlby’s attachment theory. Along the same lines, there is insufficient research that addresses the link between how observing non-offending parental attachments of CSA victims affect rapport building with the therapist, particularly in a home-based therapy setting. Therefore, the question posed in this dissertation is as follows: How do therapists describe the characteristics of rapport building during home-based therapy, when working with victims of childhood sexual abuse who have non-offending parental attachments? To address the question, this research design utilized a generic qualitative research methodology, using thematic analysis with constant comparison for data analysis. The populations from which the sample was taken were licensed professional counselors (LPCs), and licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), both licensed by a State Board in the southern region. Criteria for inclusion in the sample was at least 2 years of licensed experience, and currently treating or has treated within the last 6 months clients from the ages of 8 to 18 who have been sexually abused by a non-offending parent, meaning the non-offending parent was not the perpetrator who sexually abused the child. Data was compiled utilizing semi-structured interviews. Interview responses were recorded, studied, and subsequently coded to identify patterns and emerging themes. From the coded information, consolidated patterns were noted; from these patterns, six primary themes emerged which addressed the research question at hand: (1) Attachment relationships are determined and assessed through observation; (2) Understanding this attachment relationship for CSA victims helps build rapport; (3) Impediments in home-based therapy are related to family members being present; (4) Trust is a prominent characteristic of rapport building in home-based therapy; (5) Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has strengthened rapport building in home-based therapy with CSA victims; and (6) Humanistic psychotherapy creates a safe and comfortable environment for CSA victims.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Glidewell, Reba
Commitee: Sarnoff, David, Benjamin, Elliot
School: Capella University
Department: Harold Abel School of Psychology
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-B 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Attachment theory, Childhood Sexual Abuse, Home-based therapy, Humanistic psychotherapy, Rapport building, Therapeutic alliance
Publication Number: 13879717
ISBN: 9781085594172
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