An Ecological Perspective: Therapist Practices with Children who Experienced Abuse and Trauma

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Edwards, Claudia and Karnilowicz, Wally ORCID: 0000-0002-9611-0217 (2013) An Ecological Perspective: Therapist Practices with Children who Experienced Abuse and Trauma. Australian Psychologist, 48 (5). pp. 321-328. ISSN 0005-0067 (print) 1742-9544 (online) (Submitted)


This qualitative study explores the life-worlds of therapists working in public settings with children who have experienced abuse and trauma. The study sought to investigate and understand factors which intruded upon and or supported the capacity for therapists in a community clinic to cognitively process and understand supportive and constraining aspects of the professional context. An important focus was the organisational context of therapists. Nine therapists were interviewed to gain an understanding of their experiences and perceptions of the needs of children including factors considered important in therapy, the influences of their organizational context and challenges and rewards of the work. Interpretive analysis of interview data revealed two broad themes identified as relational and systemic. An ecological metaphor was used to conceptualize these themes as they related to therapists and the children with whom they worked. The findings demonstrate the importance of the therapist’s organizational context on how they experience their work and the need to conceptualize therapy with children who have experienced trauma in which the interaction of the child and therapist’s relational and the child’s systemic context are considered.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1111/j.1742-9544.2012.00073.x
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts-General
Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > SEO Classification > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Keywords child trauma, interpretive methods, organizational psychology, phenomenology
Citations in Scopus 5 - View on Scopus
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