The Integration of Healing Rituals in Group Treatment for Women Survivors of Domestic Violence

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By bhadmin February 2, 2021

This article describes a therapeutic group for domestic violence survivors that incorporated healing rituals and rites of passage to help participants move past a “liminal” state in which their social identity and personal narratives continue to be characterized by the abuse experience. Through the creation and use of healing rituals, blessings, poetry, art, and music, the women in the group establish “communitas” and support each other in the work of self-reclamation and healing. The group, “Rites of Passage” is intended for women who have completed shelter-based crisis interventions, and uses a structured curriculum that incorporates theoretical and philosophical concepts from anthropology, postmodernism, humanistic psychology, social work, and existentialism. Through the creation and practice of idiosyncratic and incorporated or modified existing rituals, women in the groups strengthen social bonds, develop a sense of hope for the future, reestablish an empowered sense of self, and continue their healing journey from domestic violence.

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