The psychotherapeutic change process in women who have been sexually assaulted: An examination of the schema therapy model


COUNSELLING & PSYCHOTHERAPY RESEARCH, vol.23, no.2, pp.359-377, 2023 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/capr.12526
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.359-377
  • Keywords: psychotherapy research, qualitative research, quantitative research, schema mode map, schema therapy model, sexual assault, POSTTRAUMATIC-STRESS-DISORDER, EYE-MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION, EARLY MALADAPTIVE SCHEMAS, GESTALT 2-CHAIR DIALOG, EXPOSURE THERAPY, SOMATIC SYMPTOMS, SELF-BLAME, PTSD, CONFLICT, RAPE
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: No


Sexual assault is one of the most challenging experiences to manage since it can have devastating effects on the individual's mental and physical health, and can cause many psychological problems, especially PTSD and depression. In this study, a psychotherapy process based on the schema therapy model was conducted with six women who were sexually assaulted in Turkey, and the psychotherapeutic change process was examined with both qualitative and quantitative methods. According to the descriptive results from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Scale-Self-Report (PSS-SR), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Symptom Check list-90 (SCL-90), the scores in the post-test and follow-up stages decreased compared to the pre-test stage, and this decrease also had clinical significance for PSS-SR both at post-test (p < .05, .01 and .001 for each participant) and at follow-up (p < .01 and .001 for each participant) stages. From the results of the narrative analysis, on the other hand, it was concluded that the psychotherapy process was completed in three stages (the introduction, the body, the conclusion); the participants conveyed the stories of some schema modes (the abused child, the punitive parent, the demanding parent, the angry-protector, the avoidant and detached protector); and an important transitional stage was experienced (meeting the psychological needs, self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-control and healthy boundaries, confrontation and normalisation) during the transformation of these stories into healthy adults. It is recommended that this discovered transitional stage is investigated in further schema therapy research. All findings are discussed in detail and a brief intervention protocol based on the schema therapy model is proposed.