A series of systematic case studies on the treatment of rape-related PTSD in the South African context : implications for practice and policy

Padmanabhanunni, Anita (2010) A series of systematic case studies on the treatment of rape-related PTSD in the South African context : implications for practice and policy. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.




In 2009, South African police statistics revealed that more than 68 332 women were raped in the country. The evidence from independent researchers has shown that SAPS statistics are highly susceptible to under-reporting and the actual figure is more than double this amount. One pervasive feature of the phenomenology of rape is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a highly debilitating condition with severe individual and societal costs. The condition takes a critical toll on occupational functioning, schooling and personal relationships and is associated with depression, suicide risk, self-harming behaviours and alcohol-abuse problems. The Ehlers and Clark (2000) cognitive model represents the most efficacious treatment for PTSD but the approach is severely under-utilised by South African practitioners working with sexual trauma. The reasons for such under-utilisation relate to a lack of exposure and training surrounding the model and concerns about the transportability of the treatment to a multi-cultural context. One method of addressing these barriers to treatment delivery is through systematic case-based research. Systematic case-based research offers a complementary means of refining theory and developing evidence-based practice in the context of a developing country. The method offers an intensive analysis and description of the particular phenomena under study within its real-life context. It allows the researcher to intensively examine and identify the specific aspects of the therapist’s responses and client’s reactions that contributed to significant change. Unlike efficacy studies, generalisability in case-study research is based on replication on a case-by-case basis and the creation of case law. This research study uses a systematic-case study approach to investigate the applicability of the Ehlers and Clark (2000) model in the treatment of rape-related PTSD in South Africa. The study aims to demonstrate the transportability of the model and develop a needed evidence base for service providers in the country. Seven women participated in the project and lent their treatment process to the research. The participants varied in terms of age, race, culture, socio-economic status and the nature of their sexual trauma. Through synoptic thematic analysis of their therapy process specific client-related personal aspects, client-related contextual factors and state-level factors were found to impede treatment delivery and implementation. The implications of these aspects for clinical practice and social policy are comprehensively discussed.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Post-traumatic stress disorder, Rape victims - Counseling of
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Psychology
Supervisors:Edwards, Dave
ID Code:1991
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:26 Jul 2011 06:44
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:21
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