Award Winning Interdisciplinary Research Helps Others to work Creatively with Loss and Grief

Those who have experienced the death of a loved one have been helped to process their grief through innovative and creative interdisciplinary workshops led by Dr Beatrice Allegranti from the University of Roehampton and her colleague Dr Jonathan Wyatt from the University of Edinburgh.

Posted: 4 January 2016

image for news story Award Winning Interdisciplinary Research Helps Others to work Creatively with Loss and Grief
Image from the film Your Story Calls Me – 10 autobiographical stories of loss and grief
The practice-based research began in 2010 and involved facilitated workshops combining dance movement psychotherapy and writing. Following the workshops, participants were invited to contribute to a short film: Your Story Calls Me – 10 autobiographical stories of loss and grief. Drs Allegranti and Wyatt then interviewed participants and wrote an article “Witnessing Loss: A Feminist Material-Discursive Account,” which won the prestigious 2015 Norman K. Denzin Award.

The research process invited 20 (selected from over 100) participants to explore their own experiences of the death of someone close through a pathbreaking combination of dance movement psychotherapy, writing and discussion. This resulted in a new way for dealing with grief as participant’s shared their own experiences and connected with other’s stories of being alone and dealing with their loss.

Dr Allegranti said “Through the workshops and film-making, we sought to open a space for others that provided opportunities for the inexpressible to emerge. In dance movement psychotherapy the moving body and psychological processes are interwoven. Also, writing as a way of reflecting on experience, allows for further embodied understanding. Further to this, engaging in a perfomative process during the filmmaking added another important artistic dimension to witnessing loss – for self and for others. This interdisciplinary combination made it a powerful catalyst for participants to gain a different perspective on their own grieving process and in doing so, address personal and cultural taboos about expressing loss and grief. Most importantly, the people that took part in the project discovered a life-line of hope where they didn’t feel so isolated as they shared their experiences with others.”

To find out more about the project visit Dr Allegranti’s website. The award-winning article can be found in: Qualitative Inquiry, (2014) 20:4, 533-543.

Dance movement psychotherapy is a relational process in which client/s and therapist engage in an empathic creative process using body movement and dance to assist integration of emotional, cognitive, physical, social and spiritual aspects of self. To find out more about dance movement therapy at the University of Roehampton visit the course page and www.admp.org.uk.

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