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Catching Toxic Tears: How is the Sacred Feminine Affected in Therapists Counselling Sexual Abuse Survivors? Open Access


Other title
trauma therapy
sacred feminine
sexual abuse therapists
Type of item
Degree grantor
St. Stephen's College
Author or creator
Janet Marie Isberg Tink
Supervisor and department
Dr. Joan Wagner
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Karen Dushinski
Dr. Colleen MacDougall
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality (Art Therapy Specialization)
Degree level
A long-term interest in the subject led me to question the effects that dealing daily with the deep wounds of sexual abuse have on the Sacred Feminine and its inner repository, or “feminine soul” in a female therapist. My life journey led me to work with survivors of sexual abuse and assault, and the wounded voices of my clients led to my research question. Their stories made me feel anger towards the men who devalued them to the point that they could sexually abuse them. There is substantial literature highlighting the physical and emotional effect of empathetic caring upon therapists. I questioned how this work imprinted my soul, touching that part of me that connects me to the Divine. I had to be mindful daily of my self-care, knowing that in order to be of help to my clients, my own soul had to be nurtured. My research question, which arises from my own reactions to my clinical work, is as follows: How is the Sacred Feminine affected in therapists who counsel sexual abuse survivors? Organic inquiry and art-based research methodologies guide this research. My personal story will be an integral part of the paper, along with my art. The intention of this study is to gain an understanding of how sexual abuse therapy affects the least acknowledged aspect of female personhood—the Sacred Feminine. Through this study I seek to give meaning and voice to the experience of the stressful and sometimes distressing work of trauma therapy, as well as create the opportunity for the reader to envision more holistic ways of thinking about the Goddess, the Earth, and our place in it.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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