Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Developing a Logotherapeutic Model for Understanding Victims of Sexual Assault

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Developing a Logotherapeutic Model for Understanding Victims of Sexual Assault

Article excerpt

Generally crisis is defined by many authors in different ways but the definition by Caplan, a pioneer in the field of preventive psychiatry, would be considered in this paper: "Crisis is not an illness. Instead, it can be defined as a time limited period of psychological disequilibrium which is precipitated by a sudden and significant change in an individual's environment. The change demands an internal and external adjustment and expression. During the adjustment, the person is often rendered incapable of self- mobilization" (Caplan, 1964).

Sexual assault can therefore be viewed as a situational crisis that reflects the above definition. The person in such a crisis is overwhelmingly experiencing a terrible condition and finds it difficult to utilize his present resources and normal coping mechanisms. This is the reason why some scholars such as Aguilera and Messiik (1982), viewed crisis as encompassing both negative and positive situations. From the negative side, it can lead not only to terrible disease but also to homicide and suicide. On the positive side, crisis can be viewed as an opportunity because the pain or the suffering that it produces could make the individuals seek help. In this view, Brummer (1985) made it clear that when individuals use the opportunity to look for help that they would be able to "plant the seed of self -growth and self-realization", while James and Gilliland (2005) posited that the reaction to crisis can be in three different ways:

1. The ideal case, in which people are able to cope superbly well with crisis themselves and they gather all available resources and coping mechanism with some experience. They bounce back to their normal self by coming out with more strength and become more confident than before the crisis. This occurs in most cases.

2. Some individuals use the available resources and coping mechanisms and survive the crisis by repressing it from their awareness. The crisis however comes back to haunt them at some point in and sometimes lasts throughout their lifetime.

3. Some others might use all the available resources and coping mechanisms to no avail. They plunge further into deeper crisis unless there is an effective intervention. Such an individual could suffer from a serious illness, suicide or homicide.

It is for persons experiencing a crisis situation due to sexual assault that are stuck in the last two situations that effective interventions must be provided. The question now is: "what is effective intervention?" James and Gilliland (2005) Leitner (1974) and Belkin (1984) gave three intervention models which lay the foundation work for most crisis interventions strategies and methodologies. They are as follows: The Equilibrium model, (2) Cognitive Model (3) Psychosocial Transition Model. Asagba (2013) added the Existential/Logotherapeutic model to these three models, making four crisis interventional models.

The Equilibrium Model

The Equilibrium Model is based on the homeostatic sttes theory. An individual is in a normal condition or "state of equilibrium" when their emotions are well-balanced. As a result, the person is known to be psychologically or emotionally healthy. The other side of the coin is the "disequilibrium state", when the person is not psychologically or emotionally balanced and not in a good mental health state. As a result, all his or her available resources as well as coping mechanisms are no longer effective. The individual in this state is not in control, because he or she is disoriented and confused and would not be able to make the right choices at this level. It is believed by many clinicians or counselors/therapists that there is no amount of therapy or counseling that would work when the client is in the state of disequilibrium. The person must be physiologically and psychologically or emotionally balanced and stable for progress to be made in counseling seesions. This is the reason many scholars such as Caplan (1961) Lindenann (1944) and Leitner (1974) believed the equilibrium model to be the best model to be used during the early part of any crisis intervention. …

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