This paper explores the merits of employing a multidisciplinary approach to group work and practice-based research in a Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation and Support (PDRS) day-program. Theoretical considerations and practical implications of the methodology, which drew on postmodern and poststructural theories of arts-based research, knowledge, power and subjectivity, intersubjectivity and reflexivity, are discussed here. These considerations informed the construction, analysis and presentation of a fictional, ethnographic-drama; a musical pantomime. Data were sourced throughout the creative stages of the performance and through discussions with the participants and audiences. The data included the songs, script, DVD recording of the dramatic enactment, verbal comments and conversations amongst the group and with the audience members at the two performances. Analysis identified changes in the group members’ subjectivity; that is, changes in their self-perceptions and subject positions from descriptions of being psychiatrically disabled to being a singer, storyteller, songwriter, performer and friend, able to try new things and achieve changes in their lives. Compassion was articulated in the songwriting and storytelling, also being echoed throughout the group and audience members’ comments about the songs, the story and the performances. Reflexive analysis highlighted the suitability and significance of arts-based research with people living with psychiatric illness. Implications for practice of the multidisciplinary approach used in this study lie in exploring the value of group work to facilitate PDRS aims and its relevance to other therapeutic situations and community development projects. Implications for research relate to the appropriation of inclusive and flexible research strategies that use the arts, intersubjectivity and multiple reflexive perspectives to generate research within existing arts-based programs.
|Keywords:||Arts Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Intersubjectivity, Reflexive Analysis|
PhD Doctoral Candidate, School of Education, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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