Psychological Management of Rape Survivors Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Practitioners’ Perspectives
South Africa has consistently had high reports on the prevalence of rape, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most common mental healthcare problem associated with rape. However, it seems that the provision of mental healthcare services for rape survivors is an acute challenge in the North West province and South Africa in general. Thuthuzela care centres provide care for rape survivors and these centres are located in public hospitals that mostly have mental health institutions that are well equipped with mental healthcare practitioners to assist rape survivors. This study explored and described the perceptions of mental healthcare practitioners regarding the psychological management of rape survivors suffering from PTSD in the North West province in South Africa. The study used a qualitative exploratory, descriptive and contextual research design to explore and describe the perceptions of mental healthcare practitioners regarding the psychological management of rape survivors suffering from PTSD. Data were collected using the purposive sampling method among mental healthcare practitioners through focus group discussions. Tesch’s method was used to analyse perceptions obtained from the participants. Five themes emerged: barriers to the psychological management of PTSD, assessments confirming diagnosis of PTSD, the use of various psychotherapeutic interventions, psychopharmacological management, and the involvement of various stakeholders. Therefore, recommendation is made for the implementation of effective psychotherapies such as debriefing, supportive counselling, trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy, the provision of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and brain working recursive therapy for the management of PTSD from post-rape experiences. Recommendations for the development of psychological management guidelines for rape survivors suffering from PTSD are also made for future research.