Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Counselor Education

Major Professor

Herbert Exum, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Jennifer N. Baggerly, Ph.D.

Keywords

Counseling, Counselors, Homosexual, Sexual Abuse, Resilience

Abstract

This was a collective case where lesbian survivors of childhood sexual abuse were studied. Resiliency is a combination of personality traits and environmental influences that serve to protect an individual from the harmful psychological effects of trauma (Bogar & Hulse-Killaky, 2006). The focus of this study was resiliency skills that lesbians used in working through childhood sexual abuse and clinical applications. Using a qualitative approach, specific inquiries included (a) what resiliency skills were used to work through childhood sexual abuse, (b) how counselors can be helpful and unhelpful, (c) what were some barriers to getting counseling, (d) what are the current resiliency skills, and (e) what advice a lesbian survivor of childhood sexual abuse would give to another survivor. Participants were interviewed about their level of satisfaction in various areas of their lives, their history of childhood sexual abuse, and their resiliency. Themes were revealed addressing the specific inquiries. Results are reported within the various categories suggesting that coping with childhood sexual abuse is possible. Clinical implications were concluded from the results and recommendations for clinical practice given.

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