Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Trevor F. Stokes

Kenneth L. Critchfield II

Gregg Henriques

Abstract

Depression is a complex condition which requires a multi-faceted approach and adjustment of the treatment method depending on the etiology of the disorder. One of the possible causes of depression is trauma experienced by an individual, especially when the traumatic event involves an interpersonal component. An innovative interview/therapeutic technique called Visual-Communication Desensitization (VCD) aims to help individuals process their traumatic experience and cope with negative effects of trauma by means of a line graph, which allows visualization of the event on timeline. In the current study, our goal was to identify VCD’s effects on depression in women with sexual trauma histories. A close examination of two cases revealed a pattern of initial increase of depression after the application of the VCD, followed by an eventual decrease as the treatment progressed. The results of one of the participant provided evidence for VCD’s effect on decreasing sadness, guilty feelings, self-criticalness, and worthlessness, while in the case of another participant, outcomes indicated reduced self-dislike as measured by the BDI-II. Several other variables such as PTSD, anxiety, the number of recalled trauma episodes, and distress associated with the recollection of trauma events were measured. The findings may be useful guidelines for treating depression in women with sexual abuse history in a clinical practice.

Keywords: depression, sexual trauma, visual-communication desensitization (VCD)

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