Abertay University

Supporting victims of childhood abuse

A ground-breaking self-help resource for survivors of childhood abuse produced by Abertay University is being used across the world to support victims.

Prof Zoë Chouliara is the lead author of Acts of Recovery, the world’s first research-based and survivor-centred resource, which is being used in clinical services in the UK, Australia and India. Prof Chouliara’s work is rooted within person-centred approaches and a relational way of working through adversity.  

While other approaches rely more heavily on techniques, this model focuses on therapeutic relationship building between client and therapist as the tool for change.Prof Chouliara said that a key element is focussing on strengths rather than symptoms and limitations.

She said: “Childhood abuse is highly prevalent worldwide, often under-reported, and can have a significant impact on the physical and mental health of survivors, right through to adulthood. This causes survivors to frequently use health services, however they can often disengage with professionals and drop out of psychological treatment.  People have the ability to recover and even grow through adversity within the right relational environment.”