Healing the Whole Self: Exploring the Development and Evaluation of a Community-Based, Culturally-Competent, and Evidence-Informed Group Therapy for Women Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
Doctor of Philosophy
DisciplinePsychology : Clinical
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Research has demonstrated that mental health interventions for women who have experienced intimate partner violence are lacking. Moreover, mental health interventions are generally not adapted or developed for culturally diverse peoples, and therefore may be ineffective and potentially re-traumatizing. Conceptualizations of health, well-being and illness are often Western and Eurocentric, and may marginalize other ways of knowing. While this is not the case for all diverse individuals who engage in therapy, the research literature has suggested that it may be the case for many. As such, the current project proposed to develop a culturally competent group mental health intervention for women in northwestern Ontario who are surviving the emotional and psychological effects of intimate partner violence. Considering the limited number of such interventions, and the paucity of outcomes research, a scoping review was completed of mental health interventions for women of colour survivors of intimate partner violence (Chapter Two). This also included engaging with community members in Thunder Bay, Ontario to gather information about the needs of this particular population (Chapter Three), and integrating this information with best practices for working with typical psychological/emotional consequences of intimate partner violence, creating the Healing the Whole Self model (Chapter Four and Therapy Manual). After the model was developed, it was implemented and evaluated at a community mental health centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario (Chapters Five and Six), and the model was disseminated at a full-day training workshop (Chapter Seven). This dissertation depicts a process of community-based research initiated to fill a gap in services, ensuring quality and effectiveness of services, and examining other such services to gain a better understanding of culturally-based and –competent practices.