Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Denise Charman

Second Advisor

Dr Justine Dandy

Abstract

Much has been written about evidence-based treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A number of treatment guides have been written (e.g. AMCPH, 2007; Briere 2006; Foa Keane, & Friedman, 2000;). Medicare criteria based on empirical research and outcome measures stipulate which treatments and practitioner qualifications will be funded. However, little is known about the relationship between these guidelines and what clinicians actually utilize in trauma treatment and use as indicators of good outcomes. The research studies compromise external validity by excluding the majority of typical PTSD clientele, necessitating exploration of treatment effectiveness in diverse real-life populations (Spinazzola, Blaustein, & van der Kolk, 2005). This qualitative study explored how trauma practitioners defined good outcomes and their experiences of how these are achieved effectively. Trauma counsellors (n=22) participated in one of five focus groups. The thematic analysis undertaken within a phenomenological theoretical framework showed the importance of therapeutic process and relationship. Trauma clients' needs of safety, trust, empowerment, therapeutic window coupled with their degree of resilience were emphasized. Findings provide important information to policy makers, trauma practitioners and research about effective practice by describing both positive and negative outcomes. The direct and indirect implications of managed care systems such as Medicare are elucidated.

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