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Beyond survival : the experience of identity in the later stages of recovery from incest Phillips, Alexandra

Abstract

A qualitative, phenomenological methodology was used to explore and describe the experience of women's identity in the later stages of recovery from incest. Seven women between the ages of thirty and fifty seven years of age were interviewed about their experience of their sense of themselves in the later stages of their healing process. Colaizzi's (1978) methodological approach to phenomenological research was used to analyze the interview material and the following five themes emerged: an increasing sense of visibility and connection, an emerging sense of self definition and self acceptance, a shift in world view, a sense of regret over what has been lost, and a sense of resiliency and growth. These five themes were common to all of the women's experience of their identities in the later stages of recovery from incest. A follow up validation interview with each of the women served the purpose of confirming and clarifying the findings that were generated from the initial interview. These results expand our understanding of the experience of these seven women's sense of themselves at the later stages of their recovery from incest. Recommendations for future research and implications for counselling practice are provided.

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