Narratives of healing: A case study of a young Liberian refugee settled in Australia

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The Arts in Psychotherapy, ISSN: 0197-4556, Vol: 41, Issue: 1, Page: 98-106

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Schweitzer, Robert; Vromans, Lynette; Ranke, Grace; Griffin, Jane
Elsevier BV
Psychology; Health Professions; Medicine
article description
The Tree of Life group programme is a narrative-based expressive arts intervention, designed to target the psychological difficulties faced by young people from refugee backgrounds. This study utilised a case study methodology to investigate the experience of a single adolescent from a Liberian background resettled in Australia, who participated in a manualised version of the Tree of Life programme. The case study aimed to identify the underlying therapeutic processes that enabled the participant to adopt a preferred self-narrative. The participant was observed to demonstrate positive gains as a result of programme participation. Five therapeutic factors were identified as particularly salient to the program's success: the exploration of alternative stories of self; the fostering of group cohesion; the provision of corrective emotional experiences; the experience of outsider witnesses; and the instillation of hope. These factors were discussed in relation to working with young people from refugee backgrounds. Recommendations for future implementation of the Tree of Life programme are provided.