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Journal Article

Citation

Vanhooren S, Leijssen M, Dezutter J. J. Humanist. Psychol. 2018; 58(2): 144-167.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2018, SAGE Publishing)

DOI

10.1177/0022167815621647

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

Life after a traumatic experience is never easy. This is certainly the case for victims. For many offenders, committing a crime might be a traumatic experience as well, and incarceration may confront them even more with the consequences of their deeds. Humanistic therapies are very suitable for encouraging clients to embark on an explicit meaning-making process. In this article, we explore with a case study how experiential-existential therapy can foster meaning making and posttraumatic growth in prisoners. With Diana, we started with identifying her global meanings, which had been threatened by her own actions. The therapy offered her a safe nonjudgmental space where she could learn to explore all aspects of the crime she committed and its consequences. By processing her past in an experiential mode, she generated new meanings about herself, about others and about the meaning and purpose of her own life. Diana found new ways to meet her basic existential needs. She developed a more nuanced set of meanings and a richer pallet of coping skills that enable her to live her life in a more meaningful and in a better adjusted way.


Language: en

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