Naydine Johney, Psy.D., is a 2019 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England Dissertation Committee: Susan Hawes, PhD, Committee Chair Martha B. Straus, PhD, Committee Member Gina Pasquale, PsyD, Committee Member


post-traumatic growth, trauma, mentor, mutual, supportive relationships

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In this study, I explored post-traumatic growth as embedded in a co-constructed healing relationship between a trauma survivor and a “mentor” who has been instrumental to their recovery. It is widely known that people who are resilient in overcoming early adverse childhood experiences have had someone in their corner who believed in them. In a separate, but related body of literature, there are similarly well-documented benefits for those who have the chance to make a difference in a survivor’s life, including for example: relatives, educators, and therapists. To date, we still don’t know if survivors and their mentors hold the same understanding of the elements that made this relationship unique for each of them. This study used Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to inform a qualitative research design. IPA was used to analyze data gathered from semi-structured interviews of five dyads consisting of a survivor and their mentor. The major findings in this study include the seven following themes: (a) Improved Sense of Self, (b) Validation, (c) Trust and Good Faith, (d) Modelling, (e) Worldview Changes, (f) Shared Experiences, and (g) Healthy Boundaries. Discussion of the findings includes a comparison to existing research on trauma survivors’ growth in the context of supportive relationships, possible limitations of the research, suggested future directions for research, and clinical and research implications including how clinicians may use the findings as a guide to improve therapy with trauma survivors.


Naydine Johney

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0002-5885-0708