• A qualitative study of the impact on the counsellor of engagement in long term empathic relationships with survivors of childhood sexual abuse

      Le'Surf, Anne; Watkin, Howard E. (University of Liverpool (University College Chester), 2004-10)
      This dissertation is a qualitative study of the impact on the counsellor of engagement in long term relationship with survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Five counsellors, experienced in working with adult survivors, were interviewed. Discussion focused on questioning their training and preparation for working with the particular needs of adult clients seriously damaged by traumatic child abuse; the counsellor's experiencing of long term empathic engagement; the quality and availability of supervision and other means of supporting the counsellor; the impact on counsellors exceeding their emotional and physical limitations; and changes caused by the nature of this work in the counsellor's perceptions of the world, their feelings, and the impact on their domestic, social and spiritual life. The study examines the particular nature of childhood abuse and the circumstances that arise working with survivors which may put the counsellor at risk. The results of the study indicate that careful preparation and appropriate training are required for counsellors who wish to be involved in this work, and that constant awareness of the potential dangers combined with self-care and experienced support will help the counsellor to avoid or lessen the risks involved.