Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Influence of Turning Point Experiences During Intimate Partner Violence on Victims' Self Representation and Decision to Leave
by Dean, Keena N., Psy.D., William James College, 2013, 195; 10184595
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to explore clients' subjective experiences leaving an abusive relationship, with a particular focus on the impact of "turning point experiences" on subjects' self representation and decisions to leave. More specifically, this study aimed to explore the ways in which these internal and/or external events or "realizations" fostered a change in their perception of self and self in relation to the abusive partner. The design of this study was qualitative and exploratory in nature, allowing for a deeper understanding of clients' personal experiences of leaving an abusive partner. Eight women participated in semi-structured interviews designed to explore and understand the impact of turning point experiences on self transformation.

The results of this study suggest that turning point experiences alter the ways in which the woman restructures or reasserts her subjectivity and perception of self-value. Of the women interviewed, all reported the impact of turning points on their level of "strength, confidence and courage." These participants reported that turning point moments initiated their strength and confidence in three ways (1) through their role as mother and the desire to protect a loved one, (2) reclaiming the former self and (3) emotions of anger and outrage.

The current results indicate a circular, synergistic relationship between turning point experiences and increased strength and confidence. For one subject, increased strength and confidence was reported prior to the first turning point experience. In this case, higher levels of self-value stemming from experiences outside of the dyad appeared to facilitate the subject's ability to perceive the first turning point event. Several of the women interviewed identified a continuation of the turning point process where these pivotal experiences continued to occur following their exit from the abusive relationship. Identified turning points during the recovery phase had the same affect on perception, facilitating transformations of self, the process of self-assertion and increased strength and confidence. While this has yet to be explored in the literature, the turning point process appears to be ongoing, as women continue to make meaning of the experience of abuse and evolve and change from one "click" or "insight" to another.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Weiner, Elana
Commitee: Cherkasky, Allyson, Costigan, Laurie
School: William James College
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 81/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Intimate partner violence, Loss of self, Motherhood, Reclaiming the former self, Self-assertion/agency, Turning point experiences
Publication Number: 10184595
ISBN: 9781088365953
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