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Recovering from childhood sexual abuse: a theoretical framework for practice and research.

Chouliara, Zo�; Karatzias, Thanos; Gullone, Angela


Zo� Chouliara

Angela Gullone


Research on survivors' experiences of recovering from childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has been limited and focused on those with severe mental health difficulties. This study elicited experiences of recovery from CSA in male and female survivors who have/have not utilized mental health services. The tangible end-point was to propose a theoretical model of personally meaningful recovery. This is a qualitative study, which utilized semi-structured individual interviews following the critical incident technique. Transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to identify recurrent themes. A total 22 adult survivors of CSA. Main themes identified were: The Affected Self, Factors Hindering Recovery, Factors Enhancing Recovery, The Hurdles of Recovery and the Recovering Self. The affected self included: lack of boundary awareness and self-blame, over self-reliance, over-vigilance and guilt, shame, aloneness and social stigma. The recovering self was characterized by increasing confidence, assertiveness, ability to self-care and self-acceptance, and by embracing vulnerability. These findings have potentially major implications for clinical practice, service provision, policy development and professional training in this field. The importance of disclosure in the healing process seemed paramount and can have major implications for current service protocols.


Chouliara, Z., Karatzias, T., & Gullone, A. (2013). Recovering from childhood sexual abuse: a theoretical framework for practice and research. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 21, 69-78.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2013
Deposit Date Mar 13, 2014
Print ISSN 1351-0126
Electronic ISSN 1365-2850
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Pages 69-78
Keywords childhood sexual abuse; clinical framework; qualitative; recovery; survivors;
Public URL
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