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Title: Beyond shelter: the power of women stepping into connection
Other Titles: Women survivors of intimate partner violence experiences in an arts-based mindfulness group program
Authors: McMahon, Stéphanie
Keywords: Holistic Arts-Based Program;HAP;mindfulness skills;women survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV),;violence against women (VAW);women shelters;trauma;posttraumatic growth;arts-based;group work
Issue Date: 4-Sep-2019
Abstract: Meeting the needs of women survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), that seek emergency shelters across Canada is a persistent concern in shelters across the country as women are experiencing high rates of stress-related challenges after feeling abuse such as post-traumatic stress (PTSD), anxiety and depression. The annual national report of YWCA Canada acknowledges that women’s shelters require innovative, cost-effective supports that use a trauma-informed perspective to meet the diverse needs of their residents. They propose VAW shelters collaborate with local and provincial agencies to develop effective solutions and implement best practices that can empower women. My research study explored the suitability and effectiveness of an innovative mindfulness-based intervention (MBIs) called the Holistic Arts-Based Program (HAP) to teach mindfulness skills to women survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), living in an emergency shelter. Arts-based methods are enjoyable and engaging, and enable individuals to express feelings/thoughts that might otherwise be difficult to elicit; this information is rich and interesting, even powerful. Results of qualitative thematic analysis of preand post-group group interviews led to the development of three main themes: (1) benefits of learning mindfulness skills and concepts, (2) benefits of arts-based experimental methods, and (3) benefits of strength-based group work. Participation in HAP helped women survivors mitigate the negative impacts of stress, and taught them mindfulness concepts and activities that they were inspired to use in their own lives and introduce them to their children. My research demonstrates how interventions such as the HAP could make a difference in women’s mental health. As MBIs may not have universal appeal they should not be a mandatory program requirement, but consideration may be given to offer mindfulness interventions to empower women survivors of IPV in emergency shelters.
Appears in Collections:Social Work - Master's Major Papers

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