Exploring the effectiveness of the Tree of Life in promoting the therapeutic growth of refugee women living with HIV

Vitale, A, Khawaja, N.G and Ryde, J (2019) 'Exploring the effectiveness of the Tree of Life in promoting the therapeutic growth of refugee women living with HIV.' The Arts in Psychotherapy, 66. ISSN 0197-4556

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2019.101602

Abstract

The current study aimed to understand the experiences of refugee women living with HIV as they participated in the Tree of Life (ToL), a group-based narrative technique. A qualitative case study methodology was used. Five African refugee women took part in the study. The ToL consisted of seven two-hourly sessions conducted on weekly basis. Further, participants completed a feedback form after each session, and they were individually interviewed on completion of the ToL. The researchers kept detailed field notes. The data indicated that participants were motivated to attend the intervention in order to overcome their psychological distress, isolation and negative thoughts associated with their situation. Participants found the intervention beneficial. In a safe and supportive setting, and through the art making process, they were able to reflect on their painful past and current issues associated with their migratory stressors and with living with HIV. They identified personal strengths and qualities that enabled them to cope and build their resilience. The art making process and the discussion of the tree empowered them to re-author their life narratives. Finally, they related to each other and they developed a sense of connectedness. The findings indicate the Tree of Life as a promising technique for use with refugees living with HIV. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Note:

This study was internally funded by the Global Academy of Liberal Arts (GALA) at Bath Spa University.

Keywords: group process, HIV, narrative intervention, refugees, psychological distress, trauma, women
Divisions: School of Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2019.101602
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2019 11:30
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2020 13:44
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