The generation game. Trauma and the instance of intergenerational transmission in the context of northern irish psychotherapeutic practice

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Ronaldson, Dermot
Issue Date
MA in Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The focus of this study is the instance of intergenerational transmission of trauma as experienced by psychotherapists working in Northern Ireland. This study researched the literature relevant to trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and intergenerational trauma in Northern Ireland in relation to the Troubles/Conflict. A qualitative research approach was adopted for this study. This approach was chosen to facilitate a rich, deep and non-superficial understanding of the experiences and processes of therapists working with trauma victims. Five psychotherapists with extensive experience working with trauma in Northern Ireland were recruited and interviewed. They brought broad experience from their varied therapeutic practice modalities. The data was collected using a demographic questionnaire and audio-recorded, semi-structured interviews. Best practice ethical considerations were adopted throughout the study. Thematic analysis was used to process the interview data. This process provided a rich and complex account of the obtained data, which was then divided into three main themes. The themes that emerged were: the experience of working with trauma in Northern Ireland; the experience of trauma pre and post the Good Friday Agreement; and the instance of intergenerational trauma in Northern Ireland. These themes were discussed using the lens of the reviewed literature and conclusions were outlined.