Exploring the effectiveness of the Tree of Life in supporting the mental health of refugee women living with HIV: a case study approach

Vitale, A, Ryde, J and Khawaja, N (2019) Exploring the effectiveness of the Tree of Life in supporting the mental health of refugee women living with HIV: a case study approach. In: 7th Biennial ESDT Conference - The Legacy of Trauma and Disassociation: Body and Mind in a New Perspective, 24 - 26 October 2019, Rome, Italy. (Forthcoming)

Official URL: http://www.estd2019.org/

Abstract

Creative interventions have been proved to be effective in promoting the mental health of refugee populations. Creativity, in fact, provides a safe distance from trauma, as this can be processed with the support of images, sounds, body movements and words. Creative interventions are strengthened by the power of the group, which enables individuals to witness, share and reframe traumatic events. The Tree of Life, a narrative group-based intervention, has been used to support refugee populations; however, little is known on how it can promote the therapeutic growth of refugee women living with HIV. This represents a particularly vulnerable population, as they are exposed to multiple traumas, including forced migration, gender based-violence, social inequalities, dealing with the health/mental health sequelae of having contracted the virus and HIV-related stigma. The current study is set in this context and discusses in depth three case studies of refugee women living with HIV who took part in a manualized version of the Tree of Life. The women benefited from the intervention, including overcoming their sense of isolation and solitude, in increasing their cohesiveness and in developing alternative stories related to their traumas; in turn, these strengthened their resilience and promoted their social recovery.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 08 May 2019 09:49
Last Modified: 08 May 2019 09:49
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