Identity as experienced and explored in therapy with adopted children: An IPA study

Vivar, Ruth (2021) Identity as experienced and explored in therapy with adopted children: An IPA study. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust/University of Essex. Full text available

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to explore therapists’ experience and understanding of adopted children’s identity. Identity formation takes place overtime, all children go through the process. For adopted children, it is further complicated by the meaning of the past and their current sense of self and belonging. In this study, eight therapists in a Specialist CAMHS clinic were interviewed. Verbatim transcripts of the interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to examine how the therapists experienced and explored identity for adopted children. Three emergent themes were identified ‘The Evolving Sense of Self’, ‘There are many facets’ and ‘Creating a little platform’ with recurrent super-ordinate themes providing a rich description of the ther- apists lived experience. Key findings suggest that therapists were working with children who were still affected by trauma, many struggled to adjust to their adoptive families. The children had neg- ative views of the self, they felt persecuted by their history, both known and unknown. There was a sense of fragmentation and splitting. The therapists found adoptive families experienced social stigma and discrimination. The study found therapists wel- comed the space to think about the difficulties they encountered in therapy. The novel findings are discussed and informed by psychoanalytic theory highlighting the com- plexity of the adoption experience and the need for identity to be thought about in therapy, clinical supervision and at home through open communication.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Essex for the degree of Professional Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Psychotherapy
Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Adoption & Fostering- Psychology
Research, Tests, Assessments > Psychotherapy Research
Research, Tests, Assessments > Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2529

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