Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This theoretical study explored the differences between narrative therapy (White, 2007a) and the family contextual model (Gold, 2000) in the treatment of adolescent survivors of prolonged childhood abuse (PCA). The aim of this research was to contribute to defining "best practice" with this population. Narrative therapy and the family contextual model were selected for this research because they are primarily client directed and trauma responsive as opposed to trauma focused. These were important considerations given the differences between the treatment needs of survivors of long-term childhood trauma, which are inevitably intertwined with development and attachment, and those of single-incident trauma survivors. Content analysis was then conducted within and across bodies of literature on PCA survivorship, Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (which describes difficulties that PCA survivors frequently experience), narrative therapy, and the family contextual model. This analysis found that narrative therapy and the family contextual model each lend different strengths to clinical practice with adolescent PCA survivors and that their differing strengths have the capacity to complement one another. Suggestions for clinicians on how to integrate these two treatment philosophies were therefore proposed in an attempt to offer more comprehensive and effective treatment options for practice with this population, although much further research is needed.


Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2008. iii, 114 p. Includes bibliographical references (p. 111-114)