Navigating Trauma: Understanding the counselling and psychotherapy experiences of survivors of intimate partner violence

In Canada, one in three women report experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime, and data suggest that rates of IPV are as high if not higher among transgender and/or non-binary individuals compared to their cisgender counterparts. 

Survivors of IPV often seek counselling or psychotherapy to cope with the psychological costs of the abuse. However, many psychotherapists lack training in how to effectively respond to IPV, which can lead to survivors feeling unsupported and invalidated while abuse dynamics go undetected and unaddressed. 

Our research in partnership with the University of Toronto aims to investigate the experiences of survivors who have sought psychotherapy and/or counselling services for a mental health concern in Ontario. We will focus on the experiences of cisgender women, non-binary, and transgender adults over the age of 18. This community-based qualitative research will explore survivors’ subjective perceptions of counselling and/or psychotherapy, including the process of accessing services, participating in the therapeutic relationship, and the overall consequences for their mental health. The findings will inform policy initiatives and bolster training for mental health professionals to better meet the needs of this high-risk population. 

Get Involved

For more information or to inquire about a partnership on this project, please contact:

Dicle Han

Research and Policy Manager