Joining, belonging, and re-valuing: a process of meaning-making through group participation in a mental health lifestyle intervention

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T1 - Joining, belonging, and re-valuing

T2 - Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy

AU - Lund, Kristine

AU - Argentzell, Elisabeth

AU - Leufstadius, Christel

AU - Tjörnstrand, Carina

AU - Eklund, Mona

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Background: Balancing Everyday Life (BEL), a new group-based intervention for mental health service users, was implemented in Sweden. Mental health service users often experience group interventions as meaningful, but knowledge of the process of meaning-making in a group is lacking. Aim: To explore participants’ perceptions of the group in the Balancing Everyday Life (BEL) lifestyle intervention; specifically, personal experiences of what brings meaning when participating in a group. Methods: This qualitative Grounded Theory study included 26 interviews with 19 BEL participants. Results: A process of meaning-making in a group was constructed: Joining with others: from feeling alone to connected, A sense of belonging: mutual support and understanding, and Re-valuing Self: respect and self-worth. No longer feeling alone contributed to meaning. Peers and group leaders were considered important parts of the group, and participants appreciated feeling understood, respected, and helping others. Conclusion: The proposed process of meaning-making, as well as ‘Joining’ as a unique step, seems to be new contributions which could help practitioners when organizing groups. Overcoming fear of joining could break a cycle of isolation and lead to connecting and belonging. The value of participants finding purpose through helping others should be further explored.

AB - Background: Balancing Everyday Life (BEL), a new group-based intervention for mental health service users, was implemented in Sweden. Mental health service users often experience group interventions as meaningful, but knowledge of the process of meaning-making in a group is lacking. Aim: To explore participants’ perceptions of the group in the Balancing Everyday Life (BEL) lifestyle intervention; specifically, personal experiences of what brings meaning when participating in a group. Methods: This qualitative Grounded Theory study included 26 interviews with 19 BEL participants. Results: A process of meaning-making in a group was constructed: Joining with others: from feeling alone to connected, A sense of belonging: mutual support and understanding, and Re-valuing Self: respect and self-worth. No longer feeling alone contributed to meaning. Peers and group leaders were considered important parts of the group, and participants appreciated feeling understood, respected, and helping others. Conclusion: The proposed process of meaning-making, as well as ‘Joining’ as a unique step, seems to be new contributions which could help practitioners when organizing groups. Overcoming fear of joining could break a cycle of isolation and lead to connecting and belonging. The value of participants finding purpose through helping others should be further explored.

KW - grounded theory

KW - group intervention

KW - groups

KW - lifestyle

KW - meaning

KW - mental health

KW - Mental illness

KW - occupational therapy

U2 - 10.1080/11038128.2017.1409266

DO - 10.1080/11038128.2017.1409266

M3 - Article

VL - 26

SP - 55

EP - 68

JO - Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy

JF - Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy

SN - 1651-2014

IS - 1

ER -