The psychotherapeutic treatment of trauma in Northern Ireland in 2012

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Power, Marie
Issue Date
BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The aim of the present study was to explore the ongoing psychological impact of the 'troubles' in Northern Ireland and the psychotherapeutic treatment of trauma, fourteen years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. The thirty years of conflict punctuated by random acts of bloodshed and violence have impacted significantly on the emotional and psychological wellbeing of most in Northern Ireland and continue to this day, with regular, ongoing dissident and sectarian based incidents. Using five qualitative interviews the study evaluates the psychological impact of the 'Troubles' on therapists/counsellors, those working with the security forces and clients who were affected. Both content and thematic analyses were conducted. Analysis from the qualitative research found that PTSD was the most prevalent presenting issue. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and EMDR were deemed to be the most successful interventions for its treatment supported by other complementary therapies such as family therapy. Trans-generational historical trauma was also found be significantly impacting on the population across Northern Ireland. Results obtained are discussed in the context of academic research in the literature review. Methodological limitations of the research and future recommendations were also made.