Boundary development in survivors, a group intervention

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Loewen, Lydia
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This practicum intervention focused on boundary development in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. A time-limited structured group modality provided the basis for the practicum intervention. Seven women participated in twelve weekly group sessions which were conducted at the Women's Health Clinic in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The session topics focused on the development of both internal and external boundaries. Related to internal boundary work were issues of self-identity, self-care, the inner child, anxiety, self-esteem and feelings of guilt, anger and loss. External boundary work included topics focusing on responsibility, conflict management, interpersonal relating and reconnection. Several methods of evaluation were used, ncluding both quantitative and qualitative measures: the Hudson Index of Self-Esteem; a Boundary Scale; weekly rating scales; and two self-report questionnaires, one on group experience and one on group boundary development. Overall results of the practicum indicated an increase in self-esteem, a beginning understanding of the concept of boundary, and growth in the development of internal and external boundaries. Participants were pleased with the empathy, non-judgemental support, and understanding of their disclosures of child abuse. Finally, rating scales and self-report questionnaires indicated significant satisfaction with the overall group experience.