Eight psychotherapists shared their therapeutic approaches when working with a parent of a murdered child. This qualitative case study, using the Stake case study model, identified a gap in the scholarly literature for therapeutic approaches when working with this population. Data were analyzed using constant comparison thematic analysis aggregated to a cross-case analysis. The research question: How do psychotherapists' experience and describe therapeutic approaches when working with parents who have a child that was murdered? was answered by conducting in-depth interviews with participants, researcher field notes, therapist artifacts, and member checking. Gathering experiences and insight from the participants led to the emergence of five major themes: clinician awareness, openness, enhancing client self-awareness, providing education, and rebuilding. The female participants reported on male and female parents and had four to more than twenty-one years of experience with this population. Findings of the study revealed a few evidence-based techniques and procedures to avoid initially, as participants believed they did harm or had the potential to harm. Participants unanimously cited the benefits of using multiple therapies. This study found no one therapeutic approach addressed mental, emotional, spiritual, and physiologic functioning, personal social interactions, or provided concrete assistance to manage insensitivities and control from the criminal justice system or media intrusions. This study demonstrated promising results when using multiple therapies: a combination of evidence-based therapy, nonevidence-based practices, and several techniques. Recommended future research included (a) examine murder survivors as a homogenous sample, (b) extend evidence-based research using EMDR in combination with other therapies, (c) identify protective factors and techniques for clinical use with parent survivors, and (d) develop a homicide bereavement model.
|Advisor:||Kavar, Louis F.|
|Commitee:||Lohr, Bethany A., Caffaro, John V.|
|Department:||Harold Abel School of Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Psychology, Mental health, Therapy, Individual & family studies|
|Keywords:||Child death by murder, Complicated grief, EMDR, homicide, Parent survivor, Trauma|
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