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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Healing in the none zone : the role of spirituality for survivors of domestic abuse in the Pacific Northwest Johnson, Adrienne


Domestic abuse is a prevalent issue within Canadian society; despite this fact, research in the area of healing from domestic abuse is still relatively limited. Meanwhile, research on the topic of spirituality and healing from domestic abuse is still in its infancy. A number of studies on the connections between spirituality and physical / mental health, and spirituality and trauma, suggest the importance of further research on the connections between spirituality and healing from domestic abuse. The purpose of this study is to add to the limited literature on this topic through the exploratory methodology of hermeneutic phenomenology, with a critical feminist modality. This study is unique as it was conducted in Vancouver, British Columbia, and its suburbs, and considers the research question in the cultural and spiritual context of the Pacific Northwest – considered by some authors to be the none zone - which includes the province of British Columbia, and the states of Washington, Oregon and Alaska. By exploring the participants’ experiences of spirituality in relation to healing from domestic abuse, the study adds to the argument for further education in this area for service providers. Six themes emerged from the interviews with the 8 participants. These themes were: (1) Letting go and moving on, (2) Finding comfort and support, (3) Reconnecting to self and the outside world, (4) Building self-confidence, (5) Gaining a sense of empowerment, (6) Regaining hope. A final subsection entitled Call to action: Suggestions for service providers, was included in order to provide participants with a chance to send a message to service providers about their needs in relation to healing. The study offers new insight into women’s experiences of healing from domestic abuse, especially in relation to diverse forms of spirituality. The study also explores clinical implications of the results, as well as areas for future research.

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