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Developing a Sense of Self as an Adolescent following Trauma and Loss

Developing a Sense of Self as an Adolescent following Trauma and Loss

In this presentation Marc will talk about developing a sense of identity in the context of refugee trauma, by presenting a case of a teenage girl who had experienced individual and family trauma in the Middle East. Her trauma history has intersected with the challenge of developing her own identity as she resettles in Australia. Marc worked with her on a weekly basis for a period of 6 months, and with her mother separately a number of times. One way this girl grapples with the challenges she faces is through a passionate interest in making her own art and the artwork of others.

Both her artwork and the art she is drawn to provide us with hints about the different aspects of herself that she has yet to integrate into a more coherent sense of identity. In a parallel manner the way she relates to others also provides insight into the task of fashioning a sense of self following such trauma, loss and displacement. The therapeutic work has involved creating a space where these different aspects can begin to be felt and thought about in a way which enables the emergence of a more integrated and stronger self.