CAHSS Faculty Articles

Relational Identities: Reclaiming Ourselves through Recreating each other in Collaborative Conversations in Group Therapy Work

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Peace and Conflict Studies



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This project took place at an outpatient mental health setting, and offers new understandings in our pursuit for communal well-being. It documents the unique participation of group members in the co-creaction of new knowledge and better understanding of human relationships using a participatory action research methodology. The article explores how improvements can take place in the lives of people diagnosed as chronically mentally ill. It demonstrates how a postmodern, collaborative approach to group therapy impacted the ways in which persons diagnosed with serious and chronic mental illness recreated their identities, thereby affecting their ways of relating to others and to themselves. It examines the social and communal components of understanding human behavior, moving away from an intrapsychic and individualistic framework. Doing so allows us to expand our awareness and utilize our humanity in the treatment of people who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. The role and power of collaboration are illustrated by considering the unique ways group members presented their ideas and behaved with one another. Possibilities for more sustainable ways of living together and sharing meaningful moments are considered. This article can serve as an invitation for how mental health professionals can also contribute to a culture of peace.





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