What is it about?

This study aims to explore the first-hand stories of immigrant women of Nigerian descent trafficking survivors, describing a qualitative analysis of psychotherapy sessions with them. Within the theoretical framework of Dialogical Self Theory, we explored and invited into dialogue the I-positions generated when individuals have traumatic experiences such as sex trafficking. Analyzing the themes emerging from five psychotherapy pathways developed taking a narrative and dialogical approach, we explored the narratives that facilitated posttraumatic growth (PTG) and those that hindered it. When addressing traumatic experiences, considering the polyphony of the individuals narrating them, and identifying which of their narratives can facilitate or hinder their PTG can be a useful resource in therapeutic and social work with survivors of trafficking.

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Why is it important?

This study provides recommendations for psychosocial researchers, therapists and social workers involved in services to survivors of human trafficking. The findings emphasize the importance of building a therapeutic relationship that is trusting and emphasizes polyphony. A relational focus on trauma and the multiplicity of the self can be a useful resource in psychosocial research and in therapeutic work with survivors of sex trafficking. This research offers some suggestions through which a narrative of victimization can be transformed into a narrative of PTG.


As therapists and social psychology researchers, it has been very useful to carry out reflexivity exercises through the Reflecting Team. This paper outlines the usefulness of a relational view of being human, and how in psychosocial research, in therapy and social work it is possible to collaboratively co-construct narratives of growth and new possibilities.

Universita degli Studi di Padova

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This page is a summary of: Self-positions and narratives facilitating or hindering posttraumatic growth: A qualitative analysis with migrant women of Nigerian descent survivors of trafficking., Psychological Trauma Theory Research Practice and Policy, May 2022, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/tra0001245.
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