The long-term devastation caused by childhood sexual abuse among adult survivors has been well documented within the literature. Similarly, numerous studies have addressed efficacy of various treatment modalities targeting psychological sequelae associated with such abuse. However, despite the recent rise in popularity of mindfulness within the field of psychology, as well as indication of tremendous psychological benefits associated with such practice, few studies have sought to understand the connection between mindfulness and healing among abuse survivors. The current study attempts to bridge the gap in the literature by examining the experiences of clinicians using mindfulness as a framework for their treatment of adult childhood sexual abuse victims. Participants (N=6) were recruited from the Los Angeles area and the qualitative design utilized semi-structured interviews as a means of data collection. Grounded theory analysis of the data revealed a complex and dynamic interplay of elements that captured the nature of mindfully framed treatment with abuse survivors. Results suggested that core elements of mindfulness practice, along with therapeutic conditions and factors related to the therapist's way of being, allow growth and change within the client. However, it was further revealed that the interplay of such elements was surrounded by the tremendous impact of a clinician's personal mindfulness practice, which fostered essential healing elements. While the observed results provide no conclusive data, the importance of environmental conditions, as well as therapeutic presence, rather than a focus on specific techniques or interventions suggests implications for work with abuse survivors. Additionally, it is hoped that further research continues to observe mindfulness and provide support for its implementation as a viable and effective treatment for trauma survivors.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy; Adult child sexual abuse victims -- Counseling of; Adult child sexual abuse victims -- Psychology

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Bryant-Davis, Thema;