Love After Incest. How Does Father/Daughter Incest Impact Survivors’ Attachment and Later Developing Romantic Love Relationships and How Can the Therapeutic Relationship Assist in Helping Survivors Heal From Maladaptive Love Patterns? A Hermeneutic Literature Review
Oliver, Yasmine Lorraine
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The purpose of this hermeneutic literature review is to assess, critique and bridge together literature on love, father/daughter incest, and the therapeutic relationship in order to consider how psychotherapists might best assist father/daughter incest survivor clients to reconceptualise learnt maladaptive prototypes of love through the therapeutic relationship. As love, incest and the therapeutic relationship are fundamentally attachment experiences, this leads naturally to exploring attachment relationships between people and looks at how incestuous experiences may affect those attachment patterns and ways of relating. A substantial amount of research exists on the therapeutic relationship with survivors of sexual abuse as well as on the impact that sexual abuse has on attachment. The literature on both love and incest are also vast. However, there is a paucity of robust literature regarding the impact that father/daughter incest specifically has on these important areas of relating. Furthermore, none of these topics; the therapeutic relationship, attachment or love currently have any substantial links to one another. Thus, this report aims to review the role of love and the effects that father/daughter incest has on later developing love relationships. In order to better explore the abundance of research available, and to bring these discrete domains together, this report first develops working definitions from the many variations of love and incest. After gathering, analysing and synthesising the literature from a hermeneutic perspective in this report, the conclusion is that clients’ ways of loving will become apparent to the therapist via the transferential relationship, through the exploration of historical attachment relationships, current love-style dynamics and attachment patterns. As internal working models are fluid and attachment can be secured through the therapeutic relationship as described in the literature, it is my prediction that the way that individuals love in their current relationships will also begin to shift and change as clients’ begin to form more secure and positive modes of attachment through the therapeutic relationship.