An exploration of the lived experience of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their relationship with occupational therapy: An extended research proposal
The history of childhood sexual abuse across both Ireland and Scotland has been well documented. The legacy of this type of abuse on adult survivors has been explored from the perspective of disciplines such as social work and psychology but there appears to be a significant gap in literature pertaining to occupational therapy and this population. Those who have experienced this type of trauma have been documented as experiencing a range of mental disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, aggression, and substance abuse and within mental health settings, occupational therapists are working, The paucity of literature potentially means that currently occupational therapists practice is being guided by outside discipline research and so it could be claimed is may not be occupation focused. The Royal College for Occupational Therapists advocates for its members to work in a recovery focused way. Childhood sexual abuse victims often experience lifelong mental health issues and in order to work within the recovery paradigm, occupational therapists need to become more informed regarding this specific population. A comprehensive literature review was conducted by the researcher, where upon the dearth of literature become evident and the necessity to utilise other disciplines research become vital. From the literature that was critiqued, a lack of client perspective was apparent. It is for this reason that interpretative phenomenological analysis has been suggested to analysis what survivors’ feelings towards occupational therapy is and whether they felt their engagement in this therapy assisted with their recovery journey. Before any further researcher is completed by occupational therapists and this population, the researcher felt it was necessary to hear their voice in order to understand what the profession is doing right, what it is doing wrong, and how best to improve it. This approach is in keeping with the philosophical underpinnings of the profession and will benefit a novice researcher who seeks to contribute to the professions continued growth.