Publication Date


Degree Granted


Institution Granting Degree

Capella University


childhood sexual abuse, post traumatic stress disorder, traumagenic compulsions, hoarding


Counseling | Counseling Psychology | Other Mental and Social Health | Other Social and Behavioral Sciences


Various types of traumatic compulsive behaviors have been observed by practicing mental health clinicians and yet there is a lack of consensus among such clinicians for treating people in such a problematic state when there is also a history of childhood sexual abuse. Ten seasoned clinicians, each with over 15 years experience in treating patients with traumagenic compulsions and childhood sexual abuse were interviewed to explore their lived experience treating people with traumagenic compulsions due to childhood sexual abuse. A phenomenological design was used to asses the data collected in the study. The data were analyzed to determine the best prevention, intervention, and treatment (PIT) practices that could be used to assist persons diagnosed with traumagenic compulsive behaviors and childhood sexual abuse. The first research question yielded a variety of responses that showed the use of formal assessment measures, behavioral observations, and formal interviews to assess for traumagenic compulsions. The second question found a respect for patient guardedness as an attempt for the patients to protect themselves from further harm. A crucial finding was the lack of reimbursed time to explore the full dynamics of compulsive behaviors and emotional attachment. The third question yielded terms like power , control , fixated , depth of pain , and lack of power in describing the treatment process. The therapists were cognizant of the resistance and guardedness of patients there to deal with other symptoms; as the patients generally may not volunteer their own compulsive behaviors. A general consensus of clinicians emerged so as to delineate the link between childhood sexual abuse and compulsive collecting and compulsive hoarding. Thus, a starting point for a treatment protocol was established and provided a recommendation for future research.