Treatment Considerations for Sexual Abuse Survivors from Third Culture and Religious Backgrounds: A Case Study

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Terri M. Davis

Second Advisor

Gwen Vogel Mitchell

Third Advisor

Deborah Fishman


Third culture, Sexual abuse, Trauma psychotherapy, Religion, Teatment considerations


This paper is a case example of psychotherapy with a sexual abuse survivor who derives values from her conservative religious background and also identifies as a third culture individual (TCI). Specifically, this case example focuses on treatment considerations for individuals who are struggling with their traumatic pasts and current sexual desires, within the context of their religious and cultural backgrounds. Much of the treatment is based on the client gaining clarity regarding her self-identity in order to find a long-term romantic partner and resolve conflict with her family members who were the perpetrators of the abuse. Specific treatment considerations include: difficulty identifying values, stability creating discomfort for the client, the role of questioning religious beliefs, the value of community, the differences between cultures in the native country and country being visited, and therapist reactions to the client. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was the primary modality of treatment, along with use of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills.

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


36 pgs

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