School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Lisa Sosin


shame, creativity and spirituality, centering prayer, transformative coping, IPA


Counseling | Psychology


Copious research demonstrates an epidemic of sexual trauma (ST) among females resulting in excruciating shame and fear of exposing oneself to others. Shame is an under-researched emerging mental health concern. This study addressed a gap in the literature regarding interventions for shame symptoms experienced by female survivors of ST. Specifically, it was an intervention study that applied a spiritually integrated form of the Creative Arts Personal Growth Group (CAPG) with Centering Prayer (CAPG-CP). Utilizing the Theory of Transformative Coping and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, this study explored the lived experience of nine female Christian ST survivors who participated in the CAPG-CP. An aim of this research was to understand participants’ perspectives on the impact of CAPG-CP on their sense of shame. Additionally, if and how the CAPG-CP promoted resiliency and transformative coping through creativity and spirituality was the final aim of this study. The findings suggested that CAPG-CP group members used creativity and spirituality to cope and transformed negativity into positive mood states resulting in greater resilience to shame from ST. Participants demonstrated growth in self-awareness, self-compassion, and emotional regulation. Promoting psychologically safe and inclusive communities reflects best practices for recovery from ST. The CAPG-CP is an integrated arts intervention that helped ST survivors re-engage with the community to help lessen social isolation and improve meaningful interaction with others. The CAPG-CP has the potential to provide mental health professionals with a practical approach to reduce the impact of shame and trauma and improve social support for survivors of ST.