Exploration of how children and young people self-construe following a traumatic experience

D'Sa, Amy and Simpson, Jane and Greasley, Pete (2014) Exploration of how children and young people self-construe following a traumatic experience. PhD thesis, Faculty of Health and Medicine.

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Trauma experience influences an individual’s emotional wellbeing, self-concept and relationships (e.g., Beck, Grant, Clapp, & Paylo, 2009) as well as increasing their risk of experiencing trauma in the future (Copeland, Keeler, Angold, & Costello, 2007). Accordingly clinical guidance for trauma presentations recommends treatment to alleviate distress and improve emotional wellbeing (van der Hart et al., 2006). Correspondingly, a literature review, using a meta-synthesis design, explored how adults experience talking therapies for complex trauma. From this, two themes were identified which noted that, in contrast to remaining detached from the trauma and associated difficulties as a means of surviving, adults were able to access therapy and instead reconnect with their trauma experience, others, and importantly self. This finding highlighted that exploring the impact of trauma on self is important and underrepresented in literature. Given research exploring self and trauma remains limited to adults, the research paper explored how children and young people self construe following a traumatic event(s). Seven young people completed a Trauma Symptoms Checklist Children – Alternative (TSCC-A) measure. Following this a pictorial self characterisation (Kelly, 1955; Ravenette, 1996), based on personal construct psychology, was used to encourage a creative and developmentally appropriate exploration of how they construed. These included four overarching themes which were developed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006): The Inferior Self, The Misfortunate Self, The Protective Self and The Enhanced Self. The clinical implications of this suggest that working therapeutically with the metaphor “self as community” (Mair, 1977) offers powerful opportunities to explore and understand different selves, reduce vast differences between selves, and to develop healthier core constructs. Future specialist trauma interventions should emphasise the importance of exploring self from the perspective of the individual (e.g., Ronen, 1996). Finally the critical appraisal provides reflections on the limitations and strengths of this research.

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Thesis (PhD)
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11 Nov 2014 13:26
Last Modified:
29 Apr 2024 00:06