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Telling stories, making meaning : art therapy as a process for refugee children to make sense of their experiences

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Telling stories, making meaning : art therapy as a process for refugee children to make sense of their experiences

Bresba, Paola (2009) Telling stories, making meaning : art therapy as a process for refugee children to make sense of their experiences. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Children who come to Canada as refugees are at risk of having lived through traumas. These traumatic experiences can profoundly affect their global meaning system - foundational to their way of understanding themselves and their place in the world. Narrative is a way in which people organise, process and understand their experiences. When trauma violates refugee children's global meaning system narrative is a way for them to work through the discordant information and find a way to incorporate difficult experiences into their overall life stories. Through the use of instrumental case study methodology, I examine refugee children's process of meaning-making, in response to trauma, through the observation and analysis of one child's narratives in art therapy. The findings show that, over time, the client's narratives illustrate a change in his perspective of himself, his world concept and his relationship to the world, suggesting a transformation in the child's global meaning system. The findings unexpectedly reveal the presence of parallel narratives, which are not authored by the child but have the potential to influence the child's view of himself and the world. This case study demonstrates how art therapy can help refugee children repair and adjust their global meaning system. It also highlights the importance of being aware of the presence and influence of parallel narratives.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Creative Arts Therapies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Bresba, Paola
Pagination:ix, 71 leaves : ill. (mostly col.) ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Creative Arts Therapies
Date:2009
Thesis Supervisor(s):Harnden, Bonnie
ID Code:976554
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:28
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:42
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