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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Popular education in collective recovery and reconstruction from continuing complex traumatic stress : a collaborative psychoeducation approach Escueta, Moises U., Jr.


This participatory action-research project explores the contributions that popular education, particularly using visual-arts based methods, makes to collective recovery and reconstruction efforts being undertaken by a group of individuals living in contexts of chronic, acute, and continuing trauma and related mental health issues. Towards this end, a psychoeducation group I called Trauma Recovery and Reconstruction Group (TRRG) was created and conducted with clients of the Centre for Concurrent Disorders (CCD) in Vancouver. This study was undertaken over three phases. The first phase focused on informing the CCD staff of the project, recruitment of clients, and individual interviews of participants. The second phase included the twelve group sessions where data was collected through field notes, observations, and creation of visual images. The final phase involved interviews with each of the participants. The method created for this project was called Trauma Recovery-Focused Participatory Research (TRFPR) which forges a partnership between the researcher and participants through the various phases of research. The resulting data illustrates theoretical, methodological, and practical contributions that popular education makes to psychoeducation initiatives in a clinical setting. Theoretical contributions include the extension of popular education theories and application in trauma psychoeducation, identifying processes to ensure continuing context assessment, and the translation of pedagogy into united action for collective recovery and reconstruction. Methodologically, it provides a model for employing collective, participatory, visual arts-based and capacity-building approaches. This model includes identifying visual arts-based methods which enhance collective expression of distress and recovery, critical analysis of systemic and structural origins of collective (re)traumatization, and the identification and actualization of concrete steps through united action. This project also outlines a new research method, Trauma Recovery-Focused Participatory Research (TRFPR), which simultaneously involves processes that contribute to trauma recovery and reconstruction. Practically, it contributes to recovery and reconstruction efforts of a group through the actual conduct of the Trauma Recovery and Reconstruction Group (TRRG), a twelve-week collaborative psychoeducation group. At the end of the twelve weeks, participants outlined a number of action steps including advocating for the continuation of the TRRG to sustain the community of mutual learning and support they created.

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