Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Daryl Wout

Second Reader

Anila Duro

Third Advisor

Shuki Cohen


Currently there is no agreement amongst professionals on a specific approach for providing for victims of sex trafficking. A two-part study was conducted in order to screen mental health professionals who have experience providing for victims of sex trafficking to participate in a semi-structured qualitative interview. Through a grounded theory approach, light is shed on what mental health providers experienced with providing for victims of sex trafficking find effective.

The main findings highlight how being forced into sex trafficking young (under 18) is impactful for the course of treatment according to 100 % (n=6) of participants, meeting the patient where they are at and being non-judgmental are effective in building therapeutic alliance and trust by 100 % (n=6). The common diagnosis from sex trafficking is PTSD according to 83 % (n=5) of participants. Psychodynamic approaches were reported by 67 % (n=4) of participants. Of participants who make unique treatment accommodations for victims of sex trafficking 100 % (n=5) made accommodations addressing shame. Body awareness coping skills were reported by 67 % (n=4) of participants. Racism and sexism were addressed by 83 % (n=5) of participants. Success was defined as taking care of one’s mental health by 83 % (n=5) of participants and by 50 % (n=3) of participants as having greater control in their lives, implementing protective factors, and that success varies depending on the patient. Beginning the therapeutic relationship discussing termination of treatment and evaluating emotional preparedness for termination was reported by 67 % (n=4) of participants.

Included in

Psychology Commons


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