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The Impact On Male
Therapists Working With
Adult
Female Survivors
Of Childhood
Sexual Abuse
Mark A Stancombe: MSc Integrat...
Agenda
• Why This Research
• Statistics (“lies, damn lies & statistics”)
• Approach
• Main Themes
• Implications For Our P...
Why This Research
• Personal Impact Working With Adult female Survivors
- Personal Belief in Developmentally Reparative Re...
Background Statistics
• NSPCC (Radford et al., 2011) estimate that almost a quarter of young adults (24.1%)
experienced se...
Approach
• To understand the experience of male therapists & how this impacted them as both
men and as therapists
• Phenom...
Main Themes
Three themes present in all interviews …
1.Theme 1 - Impact and the corresponding value of training,
supervisi...
Theme -1 Impact
Impact and the corresponding value of training, supervision and self-care
• Impact: Pain
“… if the client’...
Theme -1 Value of training
Impact and the corresponding value of training, supervision and self-care
• Value of Training
“...
Theme -1 Supervision
Impact and the corresponding value of training, supervision and self-care
• Supervision
“… I have lea...
Theme -1 Self-care
Impact and the corresponding value of training, supervision and self-care
• Self-Care
“… you’ve got to ...
Theme -2
The particular significance of both transference and counter-
transference
• Gender Of Therapist
“… the vast majo...
Theme -2 (Cont.)
The particular significance of both transference and counter-
transference
• Erotic Transference
Research...
Theme -3
Professional learning and increased confidence
• Professional learning
“… hearing how the impact of every story (...
Theme -3
Professional learning and increased confidence
• Increased Confidence
“… You get thrown in at the deep end and yo...
Implications
• Training
Newly qualified Counsellors are unprepared for the impact of working with adult
female survivors.
...
Conclusions
“I'd like to think that maybe one day a female client
might come in and say 'I'd like to see a male
counsellor...
Thank-You
Mark A Stancombe
mstancombe@move-forward.org
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BACP Research Conference 2015 presentation

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The Impact On Male Therapists Working With Adult Female Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

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BACP Research Conference 2015 presentation

  1. 1. The Impact On Male Therapists Working With Adult Female Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse Mark A Stancombe: MSc Integrated Psychotherapy, MBACP (Accred) mstancombe@move-forward.org
  2. 2. Agenda • Why This Research • Statistics (“lies, damn lies & statistics”) • Approach • Main Themes • Implications For Our Profession • Conclusions
  3. 3. Why This Research • Personal Impact Working With Adult female Survivors - Personal Belief in Developmentally Reparative Relationships • Desire To Inform Our Profession • Paucity Of Prior Focused Research • More Focused Research • Hope to Persuade Training Institutions To Address This In Training Curricula • Increase awareness of Vicarious Traumatisation
  4. 4. Background Statistics • NSPCC (Radford et al., 2011) estimate that almost a quarter of young adults (24.1%) experienced sexual abuse by an adult or by a peer during childhood • Almost one in ten children (9.4%) aged 11 to 17 years experienced sexual abuse in the past year (2011) • Highest reported instances being from girls aged 15 to 17 years • CWASU Report (London Met. University) stated girls 3 times more likely to be victims that males. 16% of girls aged 12 or under were sexually abused • UK Office for National Statistics Census (2011) indicated a total population of the UK at 63.2 million, 32.2 million of whom were women • Statistically this would mean that 6.77 Million women in the UK have been or will be victims of sexual abuse during their childhood. The female population is not shrinking Remember: The numbers reflect only what was reported
  5. 5. Approach • To understand the experience of male therapists & how this impacted them as both men and as therapists • Phenomenological / Qualitative most appropriate Husserl (1859 – 1938) maintained that the pure phenomena of subjective experience provide the only reliable data in the pursuit of knowledge Describing participants’ experiences, identifying common themes as well as to consciously avoid interpretation. seeking to describe and faithfully report the participant’s subjective experience, rather than to in any way interpret this, The phenomenological approach offers rich potential for gathering ‘deep’ insights into the subject matter • Data collection via in-depth semi-structured face to face recorded interviews • Common themes identified & form the basis of findings obtained from this study
  6. 6. Main Themes Three themes present in all interviews … 1.Theme 1 - Impact and the corresponding value of training, supervision and self-care 2.Theme 2 - Transference; the particular significance of both transference and counter-transference when working with female survivors 3.Theme 3 - Professional learning and increased confidence
  7. 7. Theme -1 Impact Impact and the corresponding value of training, supervision and self-care • Impact: Pain “… if the client’s in pain then I feel the pain.” • Impact: Anger “… I do park at least half a mile away and usually by the time I get to the car I’m okay. Deliberately walk, I’ve learnt not to drive angry, so I make myself walk to the car.” • Impact: Shame “… I remember going through stages of hating men and thinking well I'm a man, I thought how can men do these things, you know, it's just terrible…” “… when a client talks about childhood sexual abuse, it serves as a reminder of the responsibility that I have as a man but also the responsibility that I believe all men have essentially, to work to change that culture.”
  8. 8. Theme -1 Value of training Impact and the corresponding value of training, supervision and self-care • Value of Training “… I was well prepared on the theory side to be able to be with the client when they tell me their horror stories. So I'm quite pleased I did that preparation.” “… I think my training was very good. In some respects no issue in itself is uncomfortable for me to work with, and that's been very valuable.” “… the way I've been trained and I'm very grateful for it, is that we deal with the client…my job is to listen to my client, not to make a judgement about how serious or significant that abuse may be.”
  9. 9. Theme -1 Supervision Impact and the corresponding value of training, supervision and self-care • Supervision “… I have learnt through supervision and with my lecturers to hold the feeling (Paternalism) but to hold my presence… I’ve got a very, very good supervisor. Through supervision it’s realising what it is and accepting it for what it is.” “… And I took that to supervision (Sexual Counter-Transference) and the only way I approached it was we had a session where I opened-up about it and was honest about it and it allowed us to talk about it.”
  10. 10. Theme -1 Self-care Impact and the corresponding value of training, supervision and self-care • Self-Care “… you’ve got to be really careful about vicarious trauma, these are really nightmare stories that you hear, so you’ve got to really look after yourself .” “… but then I look after myself after therapy. Vicarious trauma is easy to get but hard to recover from.” “… looking after yourself, so, so important. I mean I practice Mindfulness and I don’t think I'd be as effective in my therapy if I wasn't practising Mindfulness.”
  11. 11. Theme -2 The particular significance of both transference and counter- transference • Gender Of Therapist “… the vast majority of female survivors want a female therapist; vast majority.” “… getting the clients to come and see me is very difficult. Again today I’ve had a no-show. They don’t want to see a man.” “… “There’s a lot said about this male female role, a lot of it is very valid, female survivors don’t want male therapist and that is definitely the case. However, it can be very therapeutic not only in other terms but also a lot of female survivors were never believed by their mothers and the experience of not being believed by their mothers there can be a lot of transference onto female therapists. The fact that you're male, you don’t have to deal with that transference. It can be very effective in that way as well.”
  12. 12. Theme -2 (Cont.) The particular significance of both transference and counter- transference • Erotic Transference Research into sexual attraction of male therapists to female clients (Pope, Keith-Spiegel and Tabachnik, 1987) highlighted 95% of respondents admitting to having been sexually attracted to a client on at least one occasion. A third of cases of sexual transference in therapy are with clients who have a history of sexual abuse or incest (Clark-Patterson, 2008). “… I found myself fancying this lady that came to therapy, … It was important to be aware that that can happen, for me feeling attracted to a client is wrong, it’s not having it in your bloody awareness, not acting on it of course, which is really important.” Every participant discussed the importance of avoiding collusion through awareness of Erotic Transference and the critical importance of Supervision in maintaining professional boundaries.
  13. 13. Theme -3 Professional learning and increased confidence • Professional learning “… hearing how the impact of every story (of sexual abuse) is particular to that client … it very much has opened my eyes to the extent of it.” “… you pick up a bit of insight not just into yourself but also into the culture of our own society and the lines where they play out and you really inform your own understanding of these things, not in any fixed or academic way but just from real experience, which is so valuable.” “… as a counsellor I’ve learnt so much for my practice as an effective counsellor through my work with adult survivors.” “… It's a very, very steep learning curve so I become far more effective for my clients, I really do believe that, through my experience of working with survivors in many different ways.”
  14. 14. Theme -3 Professional learning and increased confidence • Increased Confidence “… You get thrown in at the deep end and you learn quickly, and I would recommend it for anyone who wants to be an effective therapist.” “… if you're able to support therapeutically a woman who has been sexually abused as a child, as a man with all those difficulties and things in play, then it really does boost your confidence in your own skill as a counsellor; your confidence in client’s that it is possible and your confidence in therapy itself that it can provide the means to do that.” “… Every time you work with clients and it benefits them then you gain a greater degree of confidence in yourself and clients and in therapy.”
  15. 15. Implications • Training Newly qualified Counsellors are unprepared for the impact of working with adult female survivors. • Self-care Training curricula need to include awareness training on the implications to self-care when working with victims. In particular the potential for Vicarious Traumatisation. • Need For More Research Little research could be found directly focused on the impact on male therapists when working with adult female survivors. Expansion of this research to a larger sample will provide a wider evidence base and potential benefits to both therapists and clients.
  16. 16. Conclusions “I'd like to think that maybe one day a female client might come in and say 'I'd like to see a male counsellor, because I've experienced sexual abuse from a male and I've read about, or I have a sense or I've seen something that has indicated that that could be particularly helpful for me.”
  17. 17. Thank-You Mark A Stancombe mstancombe@move-forward.org

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