Transforming identity through participation in music and theatre: exploring narratives of people with mental health problems
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being. 2017, 12 . 10.1080/17482631.2017.1379339
Background: There is a growing understanding that mental health problems and prolonged contact with mental healthcare systems can affect people’s identities. Working with identity is an important element in mental health recovery. Purpose: In this article, we explore the significance of participation in a music and theatre workshop in terms of people`s experiences of identity. Design and methods: This is a qualitative study based on a hermeneutical phenomenological epistemology. Data were collected from in-depth interviews with 11 participants at a music and theater workshop, analysed through a narrative analysis and presented in an ideographical “long” narrative form. The music and theater workshop is not overtly therapeutic although the activity takes place in a Norwegian mental health hospital for adults living with long-term mental health problems. Results: We identified three crosscutting themes: (1) becoming a whole person, (2) being allowed to hold multiple identities and (3) exploring diverse perspectives. Conclusion: Findings show that participation in the music and theatre workshop transformed the participants’ experiences of identity on two levels: individually and collectively. The participants developed a broader picture of themselves through their creative work with others. When they developed new identities, the narratives of themselves expanded.