Stabilization groups with ethnic minority women after domestic violence: Presentation of a model based on structural theory of dissociation, EMDR, intercultural comunication and expressive artwork
Alternative to violence has developed a group treatment model structured by the theory of structural dissociation and EMDR trauma treatment theory. Woman with ethnic minority background received short terms group treatment at a shelter for victims of domestic violence at an outpatient clinic and at a domestic violence family treatment center. The groups were supplements to individual therapy/counseling. We have had 10 groups; one with only Pakistani women, several mixed ethnic minority cultural groups with translation and groups in “simple Norwegian.” Recruitment was enhanced by the policy of sharing of symptoms and problems today with no obligation to share about personal past. The model has low drop out rate and therapist working with the individuals report more effective treatment sessions. For some women the group becomes the preferred choice of treatment. We discovered that early phase trauma work can be done in a group format with severely and recently traumatized women. Methods used are resource installation and safe place work, increase awareness of negative/positive cognitions, butterfly hug, nightmare protocol, expressive art therapy techniques as grounding, breathing techniques working with personal borders, working with imagination and playfulness. Structural therapy of dissociation concepts as ANP/EP structures and mental capacity, working from here and now, focusing on the ANP above EP's are woven into how the therapists regulate the group process and plan content. The theory organizes how we handle flashbacks, current acute crisis and how we focus on the womens’ personal trauma. We also teach about the effect of violence in relationships, the need to work on personal safety and the needs of children in the aftermath of violence. Theory from the field of intercultural communication gave us guidelines in working with women from high context, indirect and collectivistic cultures. A workbook for the clients on violence, PTSD symptoms and stabilisation treatment has been developed in the aftermath of these groups and is translated into several languages. We will present the material at the conference in the structure of the early fase trauma treatment group format. Showing in vivo how we apply the theory to severely traumatized women. We will share some of our favorite group exercises, metaphors and group rituals. Our goal is: 1. to show how the theory of structural dissociation serves as guideline for organizing and resulting treatment with severely traumatized clients in groups. 2. Give insight into typical adjustments that have been made to tailor treatment to ethnic minority populations. 3. Explain how expressive art work needs to make adjustments to the population of severely traumatized women. 4. Finally show how the group uses elements from EMDR and enhances individual EMDR work. In our experience, the stabilisation groups have integrated the heart, mind and body in the work of healing with a population that is often found difficult to treat effectively. We hare started to retain other therapists in using the model and are in the process of applying for a research grant.
Original Work Citation
van der Weele, J., & With, A. (2007, June). Stabilization groups with ethnic minority women after domestic violence: Presentation of a model based on structural theory of dissociation, EMDR, intercultural comunication and expressive artwork. Presentation at the 8th EMDR Europe Association Conference, France
“Stabilization groups with ethnic minority women after domestic violence: Presentation of a model based on structural theory of dissociation, EMDR, intercultural comunication and expressive artwork,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 26, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/19337.