Date of Conferral

2018

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Counselor Education and Supervision

Advisor

Katherine Coule

Abstract

Researchers have indicated that survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) have lost a sense of self while being with their abuser. But little or nothing has been published on the rediscovery of self after counseling among female survivors of IPV. The purpose of this phenomenological studyâ??which helped to guide the research question and the method of the study â??was to help bridge the gap in the professional counseling literature by exploring the rediscovery of self after counseling from the perspective of female survivors of IPV. The research question for this study examined the lived experiences of 7 women who discussed the process of rediscovery of self and how their relationship with their counselor impacted this journey of rediscovery. This process was explained through the theoretical lens of feminist theory because of feminism's focus on empowerment and advocacy. Data were taken from semistructured, face-to-face interviews and analyzed for emerging and clustered themes. The women believed because their counselor met them where they were, listened without judgement, and provided them with the tools to empower themselves, they were guided to the path of rediscovery of self. They also believed that spirituality was a contributing factor to reclaiming their sense of self. In continued efforts to work towards social change, the results of this study may help mental health professionals meet the needs of survivors of intimate partner violence. By building strong, self-assured individuals this can create strong self-assured families, that result in strong, self-assured communities.

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