Breaking the cycle : an explorative study of the experiences and views of individuals affected by parental marital breakdown, of their own romantic relationships

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Murphy, Helen
Issue Date
BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this study was to carry out an exploration of the experiences and views of adults from families of origin separated by parental marital breakdown, and to examine what effects, if any, such experiences have on the individual’s own adult relationships. A sample group of five individuals were interviewed using semistructured qualitative interviewing procedures, in order to collect in-depth data regarding their experiences. Pessimism and caution around the concept of marriage, was found, along with a sense of determination with regards to the success of their own marriages. Concerns were reported around the concepts of trust, conflict, security and intimacy. Psychotherapy was found to be of benefit in regards to identifying patterns and working through concerns regarding their own relationship. The findings are discussed with reference to the existing literature on the subject and in terms of the implications for psychotherapy.