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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 227798 Find in a Library
Title: Healing Power of Reflective Writing for a Student Victim of Sexual Assault
Journal: Journal of Forensic Nursing  Volume:5  Issue:2  Dated:2009  Pages:64-69
Author(s): Karen A. Karlowicz Ed.D., R.N.; Leticia S. King R.N., M.S.N.
Date Published: 2009
Page Count: 6
Type: Case Study
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This case study shows the benefits of reflective writing in helping a victim of sexual assault to cope constructively with her victimization.
Abstract: The case presented involved a caring relationship between a teacher and one of her students, a victim of sexual assault, and the healing that resulted from the student's completing a reflective writing assignment in a baccalaureate nursing program. Mezirow's (2000) theory of transformative learning is about interpreting life experiences through critical reflection in order to "learn to negotiate and act on our purposes, values, feelings, and meanings rather than those we have uncritically assimilated from others." Reflective writing activities are often used by nursing faculty to help students organize and express their thoughts and feelings, so as to link the theory-based content of the classroom to clinical practice or personal experiences. Sexual assault is among the most traumatic of life events and can lead to the development of posttraumatic symptoms, including recurrent memories or thoughts of the events, mind-numbing emotion, personality changes, and adverse physiological symptoms. The experience contributes to loss of self, which suppresses expression, creativity, and reason. Self-appraisal through reflective writing is a way to rediscover one's inner self. In the case presented, the reflective writing assignment came 2 months after the student experienced the sexual assault. The teacher's instruction was for students to write about themselves and reflect upon personal characteristics, attributes, and flaws. Ensuring confidentiality, the professor encouraged the expression of personal thoughts and emotions. The student openly wrote about her feelings, but without any detail of the actual event. The teacher's empathizing comments on the paper and recommendations to seek psychological counseling available at the school was the beginning of healing and a turning point personally and professionally. 29 references
Main Term(s): Sexual assault victims
Index Term(s): Art therapy; Coping; Psychological victimization effects; Self-help therapy
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