Childhood abuse can pose negative and long-lasting impacts on individuals when not addressed. Individuals who depict traumatic symptoms exhibit some mental conditions that are either conscious or unconscious. Psychodynamic approaches are considered to be among the methods that can be used in assisting people to cope with their abusive past experiences. Psychodynamic therapy has the potential to influence the emotional well-being and mental challenges that face individuals during childhood.
Incidences of child abuse are relatively high in Arabic countries. Moreover, high incidences of physical and psychological abuse have been recorded among girls more than boys. There has been very little research on the subject of Arab Speaking immigrant women, as a minority group, who experienced childhood abuse and used psychodynamic approaches in their recovery from trauma. Psychodynamic approaches are some of the most significant aspects that can be used in assisting those who had traumatic experiences during their childhood. In the U.S., Arab speaking women who use psychodynamic approaches in healing from child abusive experiences have not studied significantly (Al-Mahross, 1997).
Purpose statement clearly expressing the focus and objectives of your study and the methodology you will employ
Through this research study, I seek to illuminate the role that psychodynamic approaches have had in the process of healing the wounds of childhood trauma. I will also deduce the clinical significance of psychodynamic strategies in the lives of Arabic Speaking immigrant women. I will explore the psychological state of the participants from childhood to adulthood. I will also distinguish the main themes contained in the narrative of the research participants and interpret their potential meaning for individuals and their psyche, as well as for humanity.
This study purposes to investigate the personal understanding of life experiences of Arabic-speaking immigrant women who experienced trauma as children. This study will include stories of using psychodynamic approaches as a coping mechanism in the women’s recovery. Narrative inquiry methodology will be used to ensuring a better understanding of their lived experiences and clinical implications for individuals and clinical professionals. These stories will be a collective account that will include life stages of these women, their childhood memories, and stages of transition through different life stages. I am seeking to understand how those women made sense of their childhood events. This is in respect to their recovery as they turned to psychodynamic to maintain calm within their lives.
The narrative Inquiry method will be used for the purpose of this study. This method is the most suitable because it will reveal the participants’ understanding of their own life experience in their recovery from childhood abuse. Ten Arabic Speaking women will be interviewed three times for two hours to collect the narrative of their stories. Narrative inquiry facilitates the retelling of an individual’s story as data to describe human experiences.
Narrative inquiry utilizes interpretation to understand human experience. In this study, the research will obtain data about the participants’ experiences from those women’s life stories, and will compare themes that emerge in the participants’ stories. The researcher will involve participants in creating annals and chronicles to help create a framework on which the oral stories are constructed (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). The major limitation to this methodology is that since it depends on human memory, some of the participants will not be able to give the actual account of their childhood experiences due to memory lapse.
Philosophical and theoretical background
Psychodynamic Therapy focuses on the unconscious aspects that are exhibited in the patient’s behaviour. The main objective of psychodynamic therapy is to promote self awareness among patients and ensure that the influence of the previous experiences on the present behaviour is well understood. Essentially, this approach of treatment ensures that clients are able to review the unresolved conflicts that emanate from the dysfunctional past.
It has been noted that psychodynamic strategies aims at promoting personality coherence, as well as the healthy development of an individual, as opposed to focusing on the alleviation of the symptoms alone. Psychodynamic therapy is one of the earliest forms of therapies that are in use today. The psychodynamic forms of therapy are embedded in the psychoanalytic theory that was developed by Sigmund Freud. There are various perspectives of psychoanalytic theory, and they all have had an influence on the psychodynamic therapy. The various perspectives include the Freudian perspective, the Ego Psychology perspective, the Object Relations perspective, and the Self Psychology perspective (Briere, 1996).
Participants in this study will be Arabic speaking women. Ten women will be interviewed three times for a total of two hours each session to gather the necessary data. The Arab American participants will be adult women (18 years and above). The participants could be born in the United States, but they have to be from any Arab country. This study will be focused on the experience of Arabic Speaking women who experienced abuse in their childhood and used psychodynamic therapy in their journey to recovery.
Potential participants will learn about this study through flyers that will be posted in the Arab American Association website, mosques, and by word-of-mouth. The purpose of the study will be explained in details to all participants. A preliminary phone interview will be conducted with each participant before conducting face-to-face interviews. The phone interview will aim at obtaining a short history and descriptive information from participants. The selection of the participants will be done using non-random sampling whereby purposive sampling technique shall be used. This is because the study shall specifically target those women who have experienced abusive incidents during their childhood. The sample size for this study shall be ten women who have experienced childhood abuse first-hand.
There are various ethical implications that will come with this study. Nonetheless, efforts will be made to ascertain privacy and preclude harm to all participants in this study. Participants will sign a consent form explaining the procedures, benefits, risks and rights of all participants prior to taking part in the interview. Details of the research and its purpose will be explained and discussed thoroughly by the researcher. Each participant will be assigned an alias that will be used in the research to guarantee confidentiality, and all identifying information will be removed from the study. Participant-generated materials, such as the recordings of the interviews, will be stored within a safe location in the researcher’s home office.
The data collected will be discarded after five years in order to avoid any misuse of the data by other researchers. Participants will be notified that, during the research, they may experience emotional problems and will be allowed to opt out of the study. In this case, they can withdraw the information that was gathered during the research. If participants need emotional support because of participation in the study, the researcher will provide them with referrals to therapists in their area.
Data will be collected from semi-structured and open-ended interviews that focus on psychodynamic approaches in healing from childhood abuse. The interviews will be audio recorded, transcribed, and analysed by using ATLAS software. The researcher will administer the face-to-face interviews in which she shall meet all the ten participants and gather information from them. The face-to-face personal interviews shall be critical in gathering the data. This is because the researcher will guide the interview to ensure that only appropriate information is gathered.
The researcher will be closely listening, repeat the listening of the recorded interviews multiple times, and transcribing to reach a deeper understanding and insight into the participants’ personal experience. After recording and transcribing of the interviews is done, field notes will be made as the researcher reads, listens, and re-listens to the recordings, and read the field text of the women’s stories. The researcher will examine the meaning encoded in the interviews, and expand outward. The aim of this process is to identify the underlying propositions that make the words of the participants sensible. This is aimed at constructing a chronicled or summarized account of what is contained in the data collected.
The compilation of the analysis will be directly linked to the research questions. The initial analysis will deal with character, place, tension, plot, end point and tone. Narrative codes will be used such as places where events and action took place, story lines that interweave and interconnect gaps or silences that take place, tension that emerge, and continues and discontinues during the interviews. The researcher will examine patterns, narrative threads, tensions, and themes that will arise across the participant’s experience in their social setting (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000).
The themes that will emerge will be grouped and identified into categories. As the data is reviewed, the categories will be inductively identified directly from the participants, and not from the researcher’s preconceived pre-set themes. Qualitative analysis is used to identify categories that provide identity to specific factors from the data collected. It also seeks a deeper level of analysis that identifies the connections or the relationships that hold between and among those categories. This is aimed at revealing how those categories are linked to each other. Those relationships will be interpreted from each participant’s data to better understand their personal experience.
The researcher is an Arabic Speaking American woman who will be able to listen and understand the stories told by the participants in this study. The shared gender and ethnic background may create an atmosphere of trust that will draw further crucial data necessary for this study. In this respect, there is a close understanding of the culture and the background that is common between the researcher and the participants. Therefore, the interpretations and the findings might be more accurate and culturally appropriate in this study. The researcher will seek to recognize her preconceived themes in order not to influence the authenticity of the study.
Implications of this research for clinical work and future research related to evidence-based practices
There has been a significant increase in immigrant, Arab population within the United States. The 2000 census indicated that the number of American Arabs was slightly over one million. Other studies have indicated that there are over three million Arab Americans in the U.S. (Ahmed, Keating, & Tsai, 2011). Despite the increasing number of Arabs in the U.S., there is limited information on Arab Americans regarding their shared experiences and how this affects their mental health. The lack of adequate research on this population calls for the need for increased studies that will help in the creation of sufficient therapeutic models for treatment.
The American Mental Health Association and the American Counsellors Association have been on the forefront in calling for cultural specific research in mental health. However, very scarce research has been done on the mental health needs of the Arab Americans. Therefore, a study that will aim at investigating the personal understanding of the life experiences of Arab immigrant women who experienced trauma as children is necessary. This study has focused on the use of psychodynamic approaches as a means to cope with the traumatic experiences during childhood. The conclusions that will be derived from this study shall be useful for the field of clinical psychology.
Essentially, it has been noted that very little studies exists touching on Arab-American women. In the Arab conservative culture, child abuse is relatively prevalent. This is widely experienced among Arab children by caretakers and others. There are noteworthy cultural obstacles in Arab countries that make society content regarding the subject of child abuse. According to the UN Committee, there is a lack of a clear prohibition in the legislation system among these countries when it comes to punishing children (Al- Fayez, Ohaeri & Gado, 2012).
The authors of the research also concluded that in this part of the world children are exposed to several types of abuses. Also, this huge problem is ignored by society in general as a form of discipline. There is a lack of nationwide studies on the subject of childhood abuse and its negative effect from those countries (Al- Fayez, Ohaeri & Gado, 2012).
The 2000 U.S. Census estimated Americans of Arab ancestry living in the United States in 2000 to be about 1.25 million. Other resent resources estimated a higher number of 3.5 million Arab Americans living in America. The consideration of socio-cultural adversities and cultural resources is critical because both account for significant variables when it comes to psychological distress. Additionally, Arab Americans are at high risk from distress due to ethnic minority immigration status, religion, social marginalization, and language (Ahmed, Keating, & Tsai, 2011). It is extremely important to access cultural resources for this understudied group in order to decrease the level of distress among Arab Americans.
The proposed research only gives some information regarding the use of psychodynamic approaches in addressing childhood abuses among the selected population. There are many more aspects related to mental health in this population that should be studied. The proposed study also looked at a very limited study population of about ten women. This poses a great challenge to generalization of the findings. Therefore, future research that will address the shortcomings of the proposed study is necessary. In this respect, a significant study population should be considered in future research. Also, owing to the limitations of the methodology used in this proposal, other methodologies should be used to avoid the issue of participants encountering memory lapse in their narrations.
Ahmed, S., Keating, M. & Tsai, K. (2011). A structural model of racial discrimination, acculturative stress, and cultural resources among Arab American adolescents. Society for Community Research and Action, 48, 181–192.
Al- Fayez, G., Ohaeri, J. & Gado, O. (2012). Prevalence of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse among a nationwide sample of Arab high school students: association with family characteristics, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and quality of life. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric, 47, 53–66.
Al-Mahross, F.T. (1997). Corporal punishment and psychological maltreatment among school girls in Bahrain. Bahrain Med Bull, 19, 70–73.
Briere, J. (1996). Therapy for adults molested as children: Beyond survival. New York: Springer.
Connelly, F.M. & Clandinin, D.J. (2000). Narrative inquiry: experience and story in qualitative research. New Jersey: Jossey-Bass.