Left / Write // Hook: A mixed method study of a writing and boxing workshop for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and trauma

Authors

  • Donna Lyon The University of Melbourne, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1240-4398
  • Shannon Owen https://orcid.org/
  • Margaret Osborne Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne
  • Khandis Blake Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne; Evolution and Ecology Research Centre, The University of New South Wales
  • Bruna Andrades Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2696-7856

Abstract

This article investigates how the combination of writing therapy and embodied empowerment, explored through the physical sport of non-contact boxing, can facilitate the recovery journeys of women survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and their move towards post-traumatic growth. It uses established quantitative psychological measurements and qualitative analytical approaches to examine the impact of an eight-week boxing and writing workshop for female survivors of CSA, called Left/Write//Hook (LWH), on participants’ recovery journeys. The hypothesis was that the LWH workshops would contribute to participants’ recovery and wellbeing. The article reports on the pilot study of the workshops as one aspect of an ongoing research project around LWH which uses concurrent, triangulation mixed methods design to gather and analyze qualitative audio-visual and creative-writing data produced by the women, alongside quantitative psychological assessment data. The findings of qualitative analyses of the participants’ creative writing and the quantitative psychological assessments of the impact of the LWH workshops on participants’ assertiveness, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, wellbeing, depression, anxiety and stress, along with preliminary findings of filmed material are presented and discussed in this article. The findings supported the hypothesis that the LWH workshops helped facilitate participants’ recovery journeys and supported their wellbeing. This article offers preliminary support for the argument that the dual approach of written/verbal and embodied creativity can enhance the wellbeing of survivors of sexual abuse and trauma.

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Author Biographies

Shannon Owen

Shannon Owen is a director/producer working across documentary and animation. Shannon’s production experience ranges from big budget theatrical release docs to award winning animated shorts.

Her work has been broadcast nationally and internationally, screened at festivals in Asia, Europe and North America and exhibited in Australia’s National Portrait Gallery. Her credits as a director include the ABC commissions 'Just Punishment' and 'Miss South Sudan Australia'. Shannon is an alumni of the esteemed VCA School of Film & Television and in 2012 returned to the VCA to share her passion for documentary as a lecturer in the Master of Film & Television course. Shannon is also an early career researcher who is undertaking a higher research degree through the School of Film & Television. Her research practice engages with futures discourse and the possibilities and challenges it poses for documentary filmmaking The centrepiece of this research is a long form documentary project exploring alternative futures for South Sudan. The research aims is to use documentary as a vehicle for not only reflecting historical and unfolding events but to imagine future possibilities through the “creative treatment of actuality”.

Khandis Blake, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne; Evolution and Ecology Research Centre, The University of New South Wales

Dr Blake is an expert on the psychology of gender relations who combines nature and nurture frameworks to understand conflict, especially between men and women. Her research addresses big issues that profoundly influence wellbeing, including how and why people compete, the manifestations of status-seeking and social climbing, and the psychological effects of hormonal birth control and sex hormones.

Bruna Andrades, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne

Bruna Andrades is a registered clinical psychologist, specialising in domestic violence, marital interaction and attachment.

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Published

2020-12-16