Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Counselor Education and Supervision

First Advisor

Dr. Joffrey Suprina

Second Advisor

Dr. Marguerite Chabau



Objective: This study examined (a) the impact of psychological abuse on a female’s subsequent intimate relationships, and (b) what assisted the female victims of such abuse to heal and build subsequent healthy relationships. Psychological intimate partner abuse is connected to various long-term negative consequences, such as anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, self-esteem struggles and trust issues. However, no studies have investigated how these negative consequences affect the female victim’s subsequent intimate relationships, nor what helps the victim heal enough to move on to engaging in healthy subsequent relationships. This study is the first to examine both of these aspects of psychological intimate partner violence.

Methods: Fourteen participants were recruited for the study. Ten participants completed the semi-structured interview and four were a part of the focus group. All participants were over the age of 18 and their primary language was English. They all experienced intimate partner psychological abuse within 5 years of the interview, and all participants were in at least one intimate relationship post abuse. The study was conducted using a phenomenological qualitative approach to ensure an accurate recount of the participants’ experiences on the topic.

Results: The results of the study included various themes regarding the effects of intimate partner psychological abuse, with the key findings being that it caused a negative impact on the victims while in subsequent relationships. The key behaviors found were communication struggles and low self-esteem that contributed to other unhealthy behaviors within the relationships.

Conclusion: In terms of counseling, it would be beneficial for clinicians to use strategies to uncover the potential existence of psychological abuse earlier on in the counseling process. Recommendations for future research include investigating how psychological intimate partner violence impacts the subsequent relationships of male victims, how length of time between the abusive relationship and subsequent relationship can alter the severity of the consequences, and how receiving professional therapeutic services can assist in recovery from the psychological intimate partner violence.

Keywords: Intimate partner violence (IPV), abuse, coercive control, attachment, depression