A Phenomenological Inquiry into Human Trafficking Survivors’ Experiences of Receiving Narrative Exposure Therapy

Prof Doc Thesis


Mason, C. 2022. A Phenomenological Inquiry into Human Trafficking Survivors’ Experiences of Receiving Narrative Exposure Therapy. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8v2wz
AuthorsMason, C.
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

The number of individuals trafficked to the UK is increasing year on year and shows no sign of slowing. The risk of mental health problems is increased for survivors of human trafficking compared to the general population. Psychological interventions are being developed and provided by both private and public sector organisations, with the aim of addressing survivors’ mental health needs. However, a review of the relevant literature identified a paucity of studies exploring psychological interventions for survivors of trafficking. Additionally, even fewer studies were identified which privileged the voices of survivors themselves, or examined the wider socio-cultural and political contexts within which their narratives were heard or understood. The present research aimed to explore the lived experience of one specific type of therapy, Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET). Semi-structured online interviews were conducted with six survivors of trafficking who had received NET at the Helen Bamber Foundation, a London-based human rights charity. A hermeneutic phenomenological inquiry inspired by Max van Manen was utilised, as this methodology supported and complemented the personal values of the researcher and those of Counselling Psychology more generally, specifically a commitment to engaging with issues of social injustice. The research found that, from the perspective of the survivors, to both commence, and continue, with NET was an ongoing dilemma. NET was experienced as psychologically and physiologically difficult for individuals. However, these difficulties could be mitigated by the survivors’ desire to achieve a better future, their trust in the therapeutic relationship, and support with other stressful life events outside of therapy. The research aims to provide a platform for these individuals’ narratives to be heard, offering a more rounded representation of the diversity and individuality of survivors of trafficking. Additionally, it can also provide Counselling Psychologists with important insights into the lived experiences of NET, taking into consideration the wider context in order to inform practice when working with survivors of trafficking.

KeywordsHuman Trafficking; Narrative Exposure Therapy; Hermeneutic Phenomenological Inquiry; Max van Manen
Year2022
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8v2wz
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Publication dates
Online19 Oct 2022
Publication process dates
Submitted03 May 2022
Deposited19 Oct 2022
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Narrative exposure therapy for survivors of human trafficking: feasibility randomised controlled trial
Brady, F., Chisholm, A., Walsh, E., Ottisova, L., Bevilacqua, L., Mason, C., von Werthern, M., Cannon, T., Curry, C., Komolafe, K., Robert, R. E., Robjant, K. and Katona, C. 2021. Narrative exposure therapy for survivors of human trafficking: feasibility randomised controlled trial. BJPsych Open. 7 (Art. e196). https://doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2021.1029