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Title: Exploring participants’ experiences in an arts-based bereavement support group for traumatic and/or unexpected losses
Authors: Falldien, Nicole E. P.
Keywords: grief;bereavement;support;intervention;traumatic losses;arts-based interventions;arts-based methods;creative process;bereavement support group;personal grief journeys
Issue Date: 14-Jan-2019
Abstract: Our understanding of grief has shifted in recent years, resulting in a call for international research in the areas of grief and bereavement, and in identifying effective supports and interventions for those who are mourning. Individuals who lose a loved one to traumatic and/or unexpected causes (unnatural events such as overdoses, suicides, car accidents, violent crimes) often face some specific challenges in their grieving journey, are at higher risk for experiencing complicated grief.. Some recent research has identified the usefulness of arts-based interventions in supporting those who are bereaved. Bereaved individuals participating in arts-based methods may receive support through art-making and engaging in the creative process itself, as well as through meaning-making opportunities in metaphoric communication related to loss, and through memorialisation of one’s relationship with the deceased. The study described herein utilizes a qualitative research process and thematic analysis to explore the experiences of participants in Northern Ontario in an artsbased bereavement support group for traumatic and/or unexpected losses. Four main themes emerged from the data (1) exploring new territory (2) travelling together (3) crossing the borders, and (4) getting somewhere. Collectively, the participants herein described their experience in the group as being helpful in their personal grief journeys, in their understanding of themselves, and/or in making meanings in relation to their loss(s). Several participants in the study expressed signs of growth, making statements specifically attributing this growth to their participation in the group. The findings in this study provide a rich and in-depth exploration of five individuals’ experiences in an arts-based supportive group for traumatic losses, adding to a limited body of literature on the topic. Areas in need of further research are discussed as well as implications for social work.
Appears in Collections:Social Work - Master's Major Papers

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