Date of Award

11-20-2015

Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Department

Department of Counselor Education and School Psychology

Thesis Advisor

Stephen V. Flynn

Committee Member

Leo R. Sandy

Committee Member

Kathleen Norris

Committee Member

Clarissa M. Uttley

Abstract

The connection between trauma and criminal behavior has been well documented in the literature, as are quantitative data on the impact of wellness training in assisting prisoners with trauma recovery. However, there is a dearth of research exploring the perceptions of female prisoners. This research represents a first attempt to qualitatively explore the mental health needs and wellness-based treatment of female prisoners with a history of trauma. Statistics regarding both trauma and mental illness among the prison population were reviewed, as well as the rationale for the need for gender-sensitive treatment modalities for prisoners. The researcher conducted an eight-week mindfulness group at a prison in the northeastern United States with 17 female prisoners. Data collection points included open-ended, semi-structured interviews at pre-group, weekly during the group, post-group, and at both 30 and 60 days post-group. The aim of this phenomenological investigation was to assess qualitative changes in female prisoners’ perceptions of their own personal traumas.

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