J. Scott Fraser (Committee Chair), Nancy Sidun (Committee Member), Julie Williams (Committee Member)
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
This work offers an analysis of the existing literature on trauma, resilience, posttraumatic growth, and sex trafficking. It argues that the field tends to gravitate toward trauma and overlook resilience and the potential for posttraumatic growth amongst survivors of sex trafficking. This work recommends that the field should attend to both abuses endured as well as the courage and strength gained by survivors. Specifically, it argues that it is the task of the mental health professional to step into trauma trajectories with a strengths-based perspective to promote positive, resilient, and growth-oriented outcomes. Resilience and posttraumatic growth theories have been substantiated by empirical support across all gradients of risk and trauma exposure. Survivors of sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking in childhood for genocide soldiers, holocaust survivors, and family crises are among this evidence base; all of which parallel aspects of sex trafficking. However, the field has yet to explore this particular subset of trauma survivors. Research has also demonstrated that when clinicians look for strengths, beginning with the initial interview, they find internal assets and external resources that mark resilience processes in their clients. This type of initial interview then incites a trajectory toward growth-oriented treatment. To apply these concepts, this dissertation proposes resilience and posttraumatic growth guidelines for working with survivors in treatment and research capacities. This work also provides a brief review of how aftercare programs within the United States utilize these guidelines and where they can improve. Finally, phases of treatment and a preliminary model for program components is suggested, which is based on the proposed resilience and growth recommendations.
Department or Program
School of Professional Psychology
Year Degree Awarded
Copyright 2014, all rights reserved. This open access ETD is published by Wright State University and OhioLINK.